International merchants selling to Brazil are well aware of the difficulties in handling complaints from buyers whose goods have been taxed upon arrival in the country. More often than they expect, businesses have to manage chargeback and refund requests from consumers who refuse to pay the fee to collect the parcels. In order to avoid this problem, many merchants choose to use carrier services that offer the option to prepay such import taxes and add this cost to the final price of the products sold.
Cross-border purchases are increasing in share in the Brazilian e-commerce market. However, the current custom handling system is very manual, failing to collect tax for all goods that should be taxed, in addition to delaying the delivery. Because of that, in 2014, Receita Federal (the Brazilian tax authority) and Correios (the national postal service in the country) announced a partnership aimed at delivering a computerized system to monitor the parcels that arrive to Brazil. Initially, such a system should have been implemented in 2015. However, the delays in finding ways to reduce the bureaucracy and facilitate the custom verification process postponed the launch. The Portal do Importador, as the system was named, will finally go live by the end of October and it should be completely operating within the next six months.
What Will Change with Portal do Importador?
According to the Brazilian Federal Government, currently nearly 200,000 international parcels are processed on a daily basis, in a totally manual way. Because of this, goods purchased on international websites can take up to 40 days to be delivered. Thanks to the electronic system, there is estimated to be a 10 day reduction in the delivery.
Another change refers to the possibility of paying the import taxes online. Currently, Brazilian consumers must pay it in person to collect the goods. Thanks to the new system, which will gather information from the computerized systems from international postal services, the import taxes can be calculated and even paid prior to the parcel arrival in Brazil. The payment can be done via credit card or boleto bancário. According to Receita Federal, around 90% of the goods received at Brazilian customs derive from countries with computerized systems that shall allow this information exchange.
The entity also highlights that because buyers must give their tax numbers (CPF or CNPJ as they are known in Brazil) to register to the Portal do Importador, it will be easier to identify people entitled to tax exemption, such as researches, and avoid incorrect charges. In addition, those who import medicines not available in the country can also provide the necessary documentation online through the web portal, facilitating the liberation process at the Brazilian Customs.
Furthermore, thanks to the new system, Correios will also be able to handle parcels from purchases that exceed 3,000 USD, which Receita Federal didn’t allow until now.
Hopefully, the new system will help in solving the logistical issues international merchants have when selling to Brazil, as well as providing a better experience to the Brazilian consumers. However, online businesses selling cross-border to the country should consider other particularities of the market, such as the preferred local payment methods and what Brazilian consumers expect from the business customer support.