Taxation - Chapter 14 - Doing Business in Brazil
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Doing Business in Brazil - Looseleaf
Doing Business in Brazil - Electronic
A. THE TAXATION SYSTEM
1. General Principles
14.101 The Federal Constitution vested the federal, state and municipal
governments with authority to collect taxes. This taxing authority
encompasses taxes, duties, improvement charges, social contributions and
14.102 As a rule, the taxes created by the three governmental instances,
within their respective spheres of authority, must abide by the following
(a) Strict lawfulness principle (princípio da legalidade) – every tax
must be instituted by law. This principle becomes even stricter in
tax issues, as the respective law must describe, in minute detail, all
aspects inherent to such tax assessment, such as the taxpayer, the
taxable events, the tax base and respective rates, timing and
geographic reach of the tax;
(b) Equal treatment principle (princípio da isonomia) – one same tax
solution must be adopted for equal situations. Taxpayers must be
accorded an identical tax treatment under the same circumstances;
(c) Ex-post facto taxation principle (princípio da não retroatividade) –
any events predating the effectiveness of a law instituting a new tax
or increasing its rate are not reached by its provisions;
(d) No same tax period taxation principle (princípio da anterioridade)
– taxes cannot be levied in the same fiscal year in which the law
instituting or increasing it has been published. Some quasi-tax
contributions are not subject to this principle by express
(e) No confiscation tax principle (princípio do não confisco)– taxes
cannot lead to unjustified appropriation of the taxpayer’s property.
14.103 The Federal Government has authority to create and collect taxes on:
(c) income and earnings of any kind;
(d) manufactured products;
(e) credit, exchange, insurance and securities transactions;
(f) rural property;
Pinheiro Neto - Advogados, established in 1942, is Brazil's leading commercial law firm with offices in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. The founding Editor of this publication, the late J.M. Pinheiro Neto, was the Legal Advisor to the British Chamber of Commerce in Brazil.
J.M. Pinheiro Neto, K.B.E. Law degree, University of São Paulo, class of 1938; State
Attorney for taxes, 1945-1955; worked for the BBC during 1940-41 in England;
awarded the Medal for Services to the Cause of Freedom in 1945; President of the
Anglo-Brazilian Cultural Society, São Paulo, since 1965; Member of the Council of the
British Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo and of the American Chamber of
Commerce, for many years; Director of numerous Brazilian companies; Senior
partner of the firm.
Aleksas Juocys. Law degree, University of São Paulo, class of 1958; Specialized in
tax matters, and head of the tax section of the firm.
Hélio Nicoletti. Law degree, Catholic University, São Paulo, class of 1963,
Postgraduate course in business administration, Fundação Getulio Vargas, São
Paulo, 1967; Head of one of the mergers and acquisitions groups, corporate work,
of the firm.
Antonio Mendes. Law degree, University of Franca, São Paulo class of 1964; Master
of Comparative Law, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.; Head of the
banking and finance group of the firm.
Celso Cintra Mori. Law degree, University of São Paulo, class of 1968; Head of the
litigation group of the firm.
José Roberto Pisani. Law degree, University of São Paulo, class of 1972; postgraduate
courses in tax law, Catholic University, São Paulo. Head of one of the tax groups of the
Antonio J. Peres Picolomini. Law degree, Catholic University, Campinas, class of
1968; Head of the labor and labor litigation group of the firm.
Noemia C.M. de Oliveira Novaes. Law degree, University of São Paulo, class of
1971; Specialization in International Law, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Partner
with Pinheiro Neto-Advogados; Experience in the computer science, technology
transfer, and trademark and patent areas.