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Brazil’s Different Types of E-Invoices

Updated: Feb 6

Brazil was one of the pioneers in terms of e-invoicing in Latin America – around the world – as the country introduced a total clearance model for e-invoicing back in 2005. Although the Brazilian e-invoices clearing systems are relatively mature and stable, both the tax regulations and the clearing process for e-bills are still considered to be the most complex in the world of Continuous Transaction Controls (CTC). At the same time there are Brazil’s different types of e-invoices, and content and digital signature requirements vary by region.

1) Different Types of Documents

Depending on whether it is goods, services, transport, freight services, or electricity, different types of e-invoices are required:

  • Goods (NF-e)

  • Services (NFS-e)

  • Transport services (CT-e)

  • Freight (MDF-e), SPED, REINF

  • Power supply (NF3e)

Not only do certain industries require specific XML formats, each with their requirements for the information they must contain, but multiple parties are involved before the electronic invoice can be released.

Before an electronic invoice can be authorized by the tax office responsible for the regional area of the supplier, the supplier must electronically sign the invoice. This requires a digital certificate, which is provided by state-accredited local Brazilian certification bodies.

All of this means that the taxpayer ends up having to send a huge amount of data to comply with tax regulations.

2) Regulations sometimes apply nationwide, sometimes at the state level, sometimes at a community level

Brazil is a federation made up of 26 states and a federal district. These are covered by a total of thirteen different State Tax Offices (PT: “Secretaria da Fazenda Estadual – SEFAZ”). Each SEFAZ is responsible for providing E-Invoicing Web Services (WS) to registered taxpayers in their respective states under their jurisdiction. Some SEFAZ uses the same e-invoicing platform, while others have their platform. Anyone who has followed the recent implementation of B2G E-Invoicing in Germany will recognize some parallels in the complexity caused by the regulations and portals implemented at the country level.

To illustrate the diversity, here are a few examples:

As a rule, an NF-e is an e-invoice that is issued for transactions with physical goods. These transactions are taxed at the state level. The NF-e is subject to the same set of rules throughout the country, regardless of the municipality or federal state from which the delivery originates or for which it is intended.

An NFS-e is an e-invoice that is issued for transactions with services. These transactions are taxed at the level of approximately 5500 municipalities and cities in Brazil. However, the requirements for the NFS-e also vary from municipality to municipality. This makes it a real challenge for e-invoices for services to meet the legal and tax requirements specified by the portal of the respective regional tax authority. The automated sending of service invoices requires web service integration. Suppliers must also issue provisional invoices (Provisional Receipt of Service or RPS) (Recibo Provisório de Serviço). Some municipalities require the RPS to be electronically signed (e.g.,Sao Paulo). Some municipalities use digital certificates for authentication for the web service (e.g., Rio de Janeiro) or just for access to the municipal portal.

Once the RPS is approved, it needs to be converted into the NFS e-invoice. There is no time to lose, as the statutory deadlines differ from municipality to municipality and if the NFS-e is not drawn up on time, this can result in a fine.

3) PDF versions of XML e-Invoices are also required

Not only does e-invoice follow a specific, legally prescribed XML structure, but also PDF versions.

When goods are in transit, they must be accompanied by PDF-version of XML e-invoice. There are several specific structures,

DANFE for NF-e, DACTE for CT-e and DANF3E for NF3e.

4) E-invoices must be archived electronically

According to Brazilian tax law, invoices must be electronically archived for 5 years.

These must be SEFAZ-authorized, signed XML documents. DANFE must be saved in PDF-format in case there are problems with invoice itself.

5) When the invoice is finally issued, the buyer must validate it

Once the buyer has received the invoice, they must validate it before it can be recognized as a document that can be written off for tax purposes. In addition to validating the invoice, buyers in certain industries must also issue a confirmation. It known as Manifestação do Destinatário (Acknowledgment of Receipt). In which buyer states whether invoice covers what has been delivered. This only goes to the tax authorities, not to the sender.

* It has been translated into English from

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