Doing Business in Brazil: Nota Fiscal

Nota Fiscal is a tax document that aims to register a transfer of ownership or possession of a good or a commercial activity provided by a company to an individual or another company that is doing business in Brazil. In situations where the Nota Fiscal records monetary value transfer between the parties, the Nota Fiscal is also intended for the collection of taxes and non-use features tax evasion.

However, Nota Fiscal can also be used in wider contexts, such as the regularization of donations, transportation of goods, goods loans, or providing services without financial benefit to the issuing company.

A Nota Fiscal can also cancel the validity of another Nota Fiscal, such as the return of processed products, other cancellations or cancellation of products and services contracts. In such cases, the Nota Fiscal must be issued and registered as a digital existence document, issued and stored electronically in order to document for tax purposes (NF-e or electronic Nota Fiscal). The movement of goods or the provision of services, which took place between the parties, whose legal validity is guaranteed by the digital signature sender (guarantee of authorship and integrity) and the receipt by the Tax Administration, the electronic document is needed before the triggering event.

Filling Out the Nota Fiscal

The Nota Fiscal includes a variety of mandatory fields that need to be filled out, including:

  • Type of operation and code or CFOP – CFOP (Código Fiscal de Operações e Prestações) is the acronym of Tax Code of Operations and Services that classify the inputs and outputs of goods and services interactions, intercity or interstate. This is a numeric code that identifies the movement and nature of the goods or the provision of services, and also determine tax collection and which kind of tax should be applied.

The code consists of four digits, and it is through the use of the first digit that is possible to identify if the type of transaction is input or output goods:


1000 – Entry and/or Acquisition of Goods and Services Provision within the State

2000 – Entry and/or Acquisition of Goods and Services Provision to other States

3000 – Entry and/or Acquisition of Goods and Services Provision from other Countries


5000 – Outputs of Goods or Services rendered within the State

6000 – Outputs of Goods or Services rendered to other States

7000 – Outputs of Goods or Services rendered to other Countries

There are sub-codes that classify the operation itself or the nature of the operation (sale, disposal, donation, return, demonstration, etc.).

  • CNPJ number (of sender and receiver of goods or services) – CNPJ (Cadastro Nacional de Pessoas Jurídicas) is the acronym for the National Register of Legal Entities. It is a register where all legal entities and treated (individuals who exploit on behalf of individual activities with profit purposes) are required to register before initiating their activities. The CNPJ number establishes which National Government tax can be applied to the transactions performed by the legal entity as sender or receiver.
  • IE number (of sender and receiver of goods or services) – IE (Inscrição Estadual) is the state registration number listed on the taxpayer’s record in ICMS (State Tax for Goods and Service trades). This is a registry kept by the State Revenue Customs, and where ICMS taxpayers have the legal registration of their business and are obliged to collect state tax.
  • Company name and address (sender and receiver of goods and services)
  • Full description of product or service – In native language (Portuguese)
  • NCM of products (Nomenclatura comum do Mercosul) – NCM means “Mercosul Common Nomenclature” and it is an eight-digit code established by the Mercosul country members to identify the nature of the goods and promote the development of international trade, and to facilitate the collection and analysis of local and foreign trade taxes.
  • Unit price – related to the product or service trade in local currency (Reais)
  • Quantity
  • Subtotal
  • Tax rate – All tax applied that can involve state and national government taxes. The tax rate also depends on the transaction, product classification (NCM), nature of operation, and the tributary classification of sender/receiver of product or service.
  • Total amount of the Nota Fiscal

More fields may be required depending on the type of transaction. Since the Nota Fiscal is registered online, the government has real-time access to all business transactions.

Issuing Nota Fiscal

In order to issue Nota Fiscal, you must first be issued an AIDF, which stands for Autorizacao de Impressao de Documentos Fiscais. Getting an AIDF is mandatory, and enables the government tomonitor the printing of fiscal documents. There are two different ways to get AIDF:

  • Electronically: AIDF can be requested online by different parties and institutions, including the Treasury Office, accredited print shops, manufacturers, graphic industry employees, and municipality employees.
  • Paper: AIDF in paper form is used in rural areas, or by taxpayers from other Federation states. It can also be used to create security forms, documents printed not under the law, and invoices for transportation services.

In addition to the AIDF, companies need to have a Digital Certificate, or e-CNPJ, as part of the Nota Fiscal.

Nota Fiscal and Doing Business in Brazil

Doing business in Brazil comes with many challenges, but with the right supply chain partner, it doesn’t have to be complicated. To learn more about how to conduct business in Brazil, connect Flash Global today.


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