Customs duties

Normal rates and notification requirements

Where are normal customs duty rates for your jurisdiction listed? Is there an exemption for low-value shipments, if so, at what level? Is there a binding tariff information system or similar in place? Are there prior notification requirements for imports?

Brazil’s customs duty rates are defined by the Mercosur Common Tariff (TEC), which is applied uniformly by all Mercosur members to extra-zone imports.

Considering that under certain circumstances there may be a need to modify the applicable customs duties on certain goods, exceptions are provided for Mercosur members to unilaterally alter the applicable duties. Currently, Brazil may temporarily alter the applicable customs duties on the following terms:

  • in accordance with Resolution GMC 08/2008, Brazil may reduce the applicable tariffs in cases of supply and demand discrepancy, such as a shortage of products available regionally;
  • in accordance with Decision CMC 26/2015, Brazil may establish a List of Exception, with 100 products with tariffs that are higher or lower than those applicable in the TEC (extended by the Mercosur countries until the end of 2021); and
  • in accordance with Decision CMC 25/15, Brazil may reduce to 2 per cent or 0 per cent the applicable tariffs under a tariff exception to capital and computing goods that are not produced locally.

The current TEC and its temporary alterations may be accessed on the Ministry of Economy’s website at www.mdic.gov.br/index.php/comercio-exterior/estatisticas-de-comercio-exterior-9/arquivos-atuais.

Low-value shipments (imports valued up to US$3,000 by international postal or courier companies) may be subject to simplified import procedures and to a simple tax rate as a substitute for the taxes usually due upon importation. The only tax exemption regarding low values is for shipments sent by natural persons to natural persons of up to 50 reais, which are characterised as gifts.

Brazilian companies may ask the Federal Revenue Service (RFB) to assess the tariff classification of products they intend to import. The tariff classification informed by the RFB is binding, and the importer is exempted from penalties arising from incorrect tariff classification for the purposes of customs clearance of the assessed imports.

Depending on their tariff code, certain products may be subject to an import licence to be issued by the competent authorities - usually prior to shipment of the goods abroad. The administrative handling table indicating the goods that require such licensing as well as the corresponding governmental body may be accessed at www.mdic.gov.br/comercio-exterior/importacao/tratamento-administrativo-de-importacao.

Special rates and preferential treatment

Where are special tariff rates, such as under free trade agreements or preferential tariffs, and countries that are given preference listed?

The preferential tariffs deriving from FTAs and exceptions to the Mercosur Common Tariff can be accessed on the Ministry of Economy’s website at http://capta.mdic.gov.br/preferencia-tarifaria/index.

Other special tariff rates may be accessed at www.mdic.gov.br/index.php/comercio-exterior/estatisticas-de-comercio-exterior-9/arquivos-atuais.

How can GSP treatment for a product be obtained or removed?

In Brazil, the authority responsible for the GSP is SECEX’s Subsecretariat of International Negotiations. In order to obtain GSP treatment for a product, the following requirements must be complied with:

  • the product must be included in the GSP list of the grantor country;
  • the product must originate from the exporter beneficiary country;
  • the product must be transported directly from the beneficiary exporter country to the grantor importing country; and
  • a proof of origin adequate to the Customs Authority, usually the Certificate of Origin Form A, must be presented.

To be considered as originating in a country, the product must be entirely manufactured in the country, or must suffer a ‘substantial transformation’, according to the Rules of Origin of the grantor country. In Brazil, according to MDIC Ordinance No. 43 of 22 November 2012, Banco do Brasil is the only institution allowed to issue the Certificate of Origin Form A, which is the necessary document in order for the export to be afforded preferential treatment granted under the GSP.

The countries and bodies currently granting GSP treatment to Brazilian products are:

  • Australia;
  • Japan;
  • Norway;
  • New Zealand;
  • Switzerland;
  • the United States; and
  • the Eurasian Economic Community.

Further information may be found at www.mdic.gov.br/comercio-exterior/negociacoes-internacionais/807-sgp-sistema-geral-de-preferencias.

Is there a duty suspension regime in place? How can duty suspension be obtained?

Yes. The Brazilian customs regulations provide for certain customs regimes designed to suspend the duties due upon importation. The RFB is the body responsible for granting and scrutinising the use of such regimes, which are listed below:

  • temporary admission, which allows for total suspension for goods that are only temporarily staying in Brazil (eg, for testing and experiments, or for events) or partial suspension for goods that are to be used economically for a certain period;
  • free trade zones , such as the Manaus Free Trade Zone, which are areas with full exemption from the taxes due upon importation, including import tax and the tax on manufactured products, for most products imported into the free trade zone;
  • drawback, which suspends, exempts or reimburses the applicable taxes for imported inputs and raw materials that are used in the manufacturing of products in Brazil that will be exported;
  • bonded warehouses, in which goods may be imported and stored with full suspension of taxes for a certain period before being nationalised or returned abroad;
  • temporary exportation, which allows for exportation with full suspension of taxes for a certain period, including import taxes during the return of the products to Brazil. When the product exported temporarily is subject to manufacturing operations, only the aggregated value will be subject to taxation during the product’s return to Brazil; and
  • special customs regimes for suspension of taxes on the importation of machines and inputs designed to improve and boost the expansion of specific sectors in Brazil, such as the mining, natural gas and crude oil exploration sectors (eg, REPETRO, RECOM and REPEX).
Challenge

Where can customs decisions be challenged in your jurisdiction? What are the procedures?

In general terms, customs decisions can be challenged at judicial and administrative levels.

Interested parties may challenge the decision and such challenges will then be examined by a first-instance administrative body of judgment. After that, it is possible to present an appeal to the Administrative Council of Tax Appeal at the administrative level to review unfavourable customs decisions.

If a final and unfavourable decision is rendered at the administrative level, the taxpayer may still refer the matter to the Judiciary Power. Although it is almost always advisable to pursue administrative litigation before resorting to the Judiciary Power (due to the possibility of a more technical approach), it is not mandatory to do so.