Starting 1 January this year, imported goods have been subjected to a 4 percent state sales tax (Imposto sobre Circulação de Mercadorias e Serviços or "ICMS") rate on interstate transactions after their importation, regardless of their destination. The ICMS is also applied to goods manufactured in Brazil which have more than 40 percent of imported content.

This tax application is based on the Federal rules enacted in November 2012 to regulate the application of Resolution of the Senate No. 13/12, which unified the ICMS rate applicable on interstate transactions involving imported goods. The Senate resolution also listed the situations in which the new rule does not apply. One of these is the import of goods without similar counterparts locally manufactured in Brazil.

1. CAMEX Resolution No. 79/2012

CAMEX Resolution No. 79/2012 listed the goods without similar counterparts in Brazil, for purposes of compliance with the provisions of Resolution No. 13/2012.

The new rules enacted by Resolution No. 13/2012 came into effect on 1 January 2013.

2. ICMS Interstate Agreement No. 123/2012

ICMS Interstate Agreement No. 123/2012 determines that, for imported products subject to the unified ICMS rate of 4 percent, any other tax incentive previously granted by a state shall not be applied.

The provision does not apply if:

  1. the tax incentive previously granted results in a tax burden lower than 4 percent; or
  2. the tax incentive consists of an exemption.

3. SINIEF Adjustment n.19/2012

Finally, Adjustment SINIEF No. 19 was also published, which establishes the procedures to be followed for purposes of the application of the 4 percent ICMS unified rate provided by Resolution 13/2012.

According to the Adjustment, for imported goods subject to the 4 percent ICMS interstate, the Import Content Return (Ficha de Conteúdo de Importação or "FCI") must be electronically filed according to the model available in the Annex of the Adjustment. This document shall contain, among other information, the value of the imported content and the total value of the interstate transaction.

The document must be submitted electronically and will be resubmitted whenever there is a change higher than 5 percent in the Content of Import or if there is a modification in the interstate rate applicable to the transaction. The information provided by the taxpayer will be available to all the states involved in the transaction.

The Adjustment also provides that the Electronic Tax Invoice (Nota Fiscal Eletronica or "NF-e") must contain:

  1. the value of the imported content, the number of the FCI and the percentage of Content of Import, in the case of imported goods which have been subject to an industrialisation process in the establishment of the seller; or
  2. the value of the import transaction, in the case of imported goods that were not subject to an industrialisation process in the establishment of the seller.

The new rules provided by SINIEF Adjustment No. 19/2012 came into effect on 1 January 2013.