Overview: Charles Prescott, Executive Director of the Global Address Data Association, wrote the following article and gave us permission to post it here. There has been much uncertainty over Brazil’s new requirement that all incoming parcels carry with them the recipient’s CPF tax ID number. It will affect carriers, postal agencies, eCommerce services and merchants that do not currently collect this information from their customers. After a brief implementation period, any package they send without a CPF will either face a delivery delay, be destroyed or be returned to sender.
There have been no official statements from Brazil about the new requirement or when it goes into effect, so Charles went straight to the Head of International Department for Brazilian Post. See his comments below.
If your business is affected by this change, GDC can help. If you’re not collecting CPF numbers from your Brazilian customers, we can provide those for you. To find out more, contact Paul Dryden at 919-807-1740 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Shipping to Brazil? Yet one more possible problem….
We were recently alerted of talk in the industry that the Customs in Brazil has started requiring that inbound parcels bear a “CPF” before they can be cleared, including parcels arriving through Correios.
The CPF is somewhat unique. CPF stands for the Cadastro de Pessoa Fisica ( Brazilian Taxpayer Registry). This is a database maintained by the Federal Revenue, ie tax, department. If you fall into one of three categories, you must register and obtain a CPF number. The categories are: Brazilians, foreigners resident in Brazil, and foreigners living abroad but owning assets in Brazil. When registering, you receive a permanent number which is unique to you, like a US Social Security number. This is used in nearly every commercial transaction one conducts in the country.
In short, the average customer in Brazil buying something in the US from Amazon (or anyone else for that matter) will not receive his or her parcel unless the CPF is on it and duties, often very substantial, are paid.
In the past, parcels arriving through the post, or tendered to the post by private couriers, went to the final delivery post office and the customer was contacted to come to pay the duties and collect the parcel. We understand that the authorities, in dire need of more revenue, decided that a more stringent tax collection discipline was required. Hence no parcel leaves Customs or Correios without a CPF on it and taxes paid.
We became alarmed at the prospect of thousands of parcels from foreign websites being piled up in Brazilian Customs or Correios, and so we emailed our friends at Brazilian Post to determine if the rumors were true.
Our friend Alberto de Mello Mattos, Head of the International Department of the Brazilian Post very kindly informed us that, indeed, parcels must contain the CPF before being presented to Customs. The new system will receive parcel‐specific data from couriers, private postal operators and posts which will be provided to Customs for clearance.
Brazilian Post is currently urging its trading partner posts to observe an enhanced parcel‐ specific standard that includes the CPF. This could resolve the problem, but it is a lengthy process to accomplish. Institutions responsible for standards, and their modification, are extremely cautious and thus obtaining modifications can take substantial amounts of time. Imagine how long it will take the USPS to begin to insist on CPF’s on Brazil‐bound parcels, and then how long it will take American businesses to do so. But you better do so, and quick.
To avoid as much trouble as possible, as soon as possible, the industry should do its best to convince shippers to collect the CPF on the website’s order form.
Where the parcel contains the CPF, it will pass through Customs for delivery in normal course. Where it does not, a system is being created to notify the addressee and request the needed CPF through a new dedicated website.
Part of this process to connect CPFs with parcels is ID Correios. ID Correios is a web authentication tool; all customers who interact with Correios must register in this system, which can verify the existence of the CPF claimed, or possibly provide one if it is missing. This system thus engages the addressee in the process. Of course, first‐time online buyers might not be in the system. And any system is capable of breaking down.
Mr. Mello Mattos put it succinctly: “ In conclusion, from the new system onwards we have to provide to Customs the CPF, before submit the item to them or alternatively, before release the item from our warehouse for final delivery.“ So now Correios is most definitely part of the tax collection process.
It is a universal truism that despite the best efforts of participants in a process, things will go wrong. Despite best efforts, Correios’ system will be stressed with parcels lacking a CPF and whose addressees can’t be located, or who are not in the ID Correios system. Any country’s system would be stressed with this.
How many will be returned, and how many will disappear? Who knows? GADA has been trying to find out the volume of “gone‐missing” parcels in the international system for years now, and no one in the posts, any post, will talk about it over coffee, let alone on the record.
If your company or you clients do business with Brazilian consumers, it will definitely be advisable to collect the CPF on check‐out and provide it on the package. Make it easy for the customers and they’ll be back.
See Charles Prescott’s full article on the Global Address Data Association blog, http://www.globaladdress.org/resources/blog/