Every day we receive messages regarding product classification. We have an import tax guide on our website, but the question is: how is this product classified? This article will explain you how NCM (does not) works for computers.
Before talking about product classification in Brazil, it is important to give a brief explanation about NCM (Nomenclatura Comum do Mercosul). NCM was adopted in 1995 by members of MERCOSUL (Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina) and is based on Sistema Harmonizado, Portuguese for “Harmonized System” (HS). It was created to facilitate international trade procedures.
NCM is an 8-digit number in which the first six ones are generated by the HS system and the two last ones correspond to changes regarding MERCOSUL. Products are classified according to their nature and purpose. All these products are displayed on a table that ignore educational and computer products. Therefore, we have decided that an article specifically about computers would be interesting.
How does it work?
Computers are classified as "máquinas automáticas para processamento de dados" (automatic machines for data processing), on the position 8471. The aspects used to classify a product as a computer reduces it to desktops, so how to classify laptops and other computer products?
When computers are under the classification of automatic machines for data processing, we must have in mind what features these machines must offer in order to be classified as such. They are:
- Machines that are capable of registering data in their memories that are immediately necessary to the execution of programs;
- Offer the possibility of being programmed according to the user's needs;
- Execute mathematics operations defined by the user;
- Execute a processing program with no need for human intervention and being able of changing it through a logic decision.
Automatic machines for data processing are presented under systems that comprise a variable number of distinct units. Systems, however, are defined as automatic machines for data processing that have at least one central unit for processing, one input and one output devices that are considered essential to data processing. In other words, it corresponds to what can be called parts of a desktop, such as keyboard and a monitor.
It is important to say that printers, copy machines, microphones, speakers and any other machine that has any other purpose that is not data processing are not classified under position 8471.
Where does the Problem Come From?
Based on all the aspects presented above, we conclude that the only computer classified under the position 8471 is the already outdated desktop, that comes along with a mouse, a monitor and a keyboard. Then how to include new technologies, such as tablets and laptops?
The updating of the NCM does not follow the emergence of new technologies and the result is Galaxy Tabs being classified as mobile phones due to their calling capabilities and iPads classified as MP3 players, such as iPod Touch, as these are the closest categories in which they could be classified. When contacting Receita Federal to ask for assistance, you will end up facing several months without being able to export to Brazil.
So the problem is that even though Brazil has been improving in terms of technology, it still deals with data processing devices using terms that were disseminated in the 70's and ignoring the fact that computer usage has evolved and that more and more desktops are the exception instead of the rule.
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