Import Tax Explained – Brazil Tax For Importers

Author Chinavasion Marketing 10.6.2009. | 18:13

Anybody trying to run a trade business in Brazil can tell you the taxes are a nightmare.

It’s bad enough being a big retailer, but when it comes to the small to medium online retailer those import fees can be the one tonne weight that crushed the Brazil Nut.

Brazil is an export-lead nation, meaning that imports are highly discouraged and heavily taxed.

To put the pressure on and keep trade between the neigbours they allow free trade between South America, Central America and Mexico, which is referred to as the Mercosur Common Nomenclature.

Goods from ‘Non-Mercosur’ countries such the US or China members will attract a tariff which can be between zero and 35% the total cost of importing.

That is correct, goods are taxed on more than their ‘buy’ value.

In general, the customs value of goods is determined on a CIF (cost, insurance and freight) basis.

So what this adds up to for ecommerce traders in Brazil is a huge headache, one that if not researched properly on places like customs websites and blogs and forums on Brazil import taxes can get you into big trouble with customs officials and your customers.

Useful Resources


A global list of customs department websites

    • The Brazilian tax department:


Useful links To Use When Working Out Your Notas do Banco Central – NBC


    • List of NBC rates:
    • Online application that calculates fees based on NBC and item value:



Essentially though there are ways to set up the shipping order and go through the item to get a better tax load. How you do that has been discussed before in the comments section of our previous blog on Brazil import taxes.

Shipping also plays a part in the method you choose, partly because of Brazilian tax authority’s fee structure for imports and partly for other reasons.

As a result it is important to remember the ins and outs of each method.

Sending Items By Courier

Sending items by courier is very popular with many dropshippers in other countries because it is fast and it is the most convenient option for customers as the item gets delivered at their door.

However there are other matters to consider. All orders with a value more than 50 USD will be taxed and levies can be quite steep on occasions. If you are asked to pay tax the amount could be as much as an 60% import duty with a 18% sales tax and around USD 10.00 for customs administrative charges.

Courier packages tend to get inspected more often than other methods of shipping.

Sending Items By Airmail/EMS

Sending something via EMS or airmail is slower than sending something via courier. According to some people it also may involve either you, or your customer, picking up the item from the Internal Revenue Service but it can often help out those looking for a little leeway from customs duties.

We have talked before about shipping with EMS but it is worth mentioning again that sending via this method, or airmail, can result in less attention and a less-stiff duty.

By doing your research, going through the legwork before you export and helping each other out you can better manage the duty issue.

So take part in the polls and, if you’ve got any questions or suggestions about:

  • Dealing with shipping
  • Putting together the shipping docket
  • Dealing with customs and tax officials
  • Anything else

Leave them in the comments below.



wholesale dropship

Author Chinavasion Marketing 10.6.2009. | 18:13
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  1. Edson June 11, 22:17

    This is a good article, but with no new informatio. Sotimes I have some troubles with taxes and as said above it makes the product 60% more expensive for my clients (I mention to my clients that if they get taxed it’s their responsability). It’s kinda impossible to know wheter your product is goind to be taxed or not. I already had some products taxed and they costed much less than USD50. For example, the other day I bought a pendrive for me, it costed USD7 and it was taxed with USD50!!! Unbelivieble right? I think Chinavasion could develop a professioanal gift service (and you could even charge for it) sending the goods via air mail, from person to person (not company to person) with cards and papers.

  2. george June 13, 01:07

    In most countries, “person to person” / “gift” makes no difference since it is patently obvious to Customs that it is a commercial item, even if you go to all the pains of gift wrapping and labelling. Even if you receive a genuine personal gift you are likely to have to pay at least sales taxes on its declared value, Brazil as well as other countries.

  3. Bill June 13, 07:01

    Don’t worry. Some goods even taxed in 60% are much more cheaper than buying at stores in Brazil!

  4. champak July 11, 20:04

    i am in a process of buying items no cvejs-508t-pal a rear viewing camera and also cvfx-co2 1din car gps+dvd+bluetooth system with 7inch toucscreen and i am from uk item no 1 cost 11.75p and item no 2 cost 250.00 so the total cost 361.75uk pounds so i wonder how much tax and excise duty i will endup paying in total

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