Juliana Mello

Juliana Mello

The Brazil Business


Tax on Products in Brazil

Juliana Mello

Juliana Mello

The Brazil Business


One of the main criticisms regarding the Brazilian Taxation is its extremely heavy burden on consumption.This article will provide information about the taxes inlaid on the products' price and how it harms both consumers and companies.

About 55% off all the money collected by the government comes from consumption taxes, and it is quite easy to know why: not everyone in Brazil pays Income Tax or taxes levied on properties, but every single Brazilian is a buyer. Also, the consumption taxes all together have a much higher rate than the Property or Income taxes.

With alarming income concentration and social inequality levels, Brazil continues to overtax the consumption, affecting directly the most impoverished people. As the consumption taxes are the same for all people, regardless on their income, the poorest ones pay way more taxes than the richest, if we think of some proportions.

A person that is paid up to two minimum wages (BRL 1244,00) spend about 48,3% of the salary on taxes. On the other hand, someone with a thirty minimum salary (BRL 18.660,00) pays 26,3% of it on taxes. Adds to that the fact that poor people actually spend all their salaries to live, while the riches save money and invest with their wages, what increases even more their wealth and, consequently, the income concentration.

Taxes on consumption

In Brazil, all the products for sale in a supermarket or shopping mall, for instance, are subjected to consumption taxes. There are no complete exemptions, not even for basic needs. However, every now and then, the Government adopts some measures to encourage consumption and protect the national industry. As an example, we can quote the exemption and reduction of some taxes for house appliances, cars, motorcycles, trucks, building materials, wheat flour and computer goods.

Overall, the main Brazilian taxes and contributions levied on consumption are:

  • ICMS
  • PIS (Social Integration Plan)
  • Cofins (Contribution for Social Security Financing)
  • IPI (Tax on Manufactured Products)

Aside from those taxes, there are other several fees charged on companies that are transferred to the consumers influencing the final price of the products. Actually, the Brazilian Tax structure is so confusing that it is impossible to determine the exact value of the taxes included in the final cost of each product. it is only possible to make some estimations, as you can check on the table in the end of this article.

Taxes for this? Really?

According to a research made by the National Industries Federation of São Paulo (Fiesp), about 80% of the Brazilian people have absolutely no idea of how much tax they pay on their purchases. But apparently that unawareness is not due to neglect. The whole tax structure in Brazil is composed of indirect and disguised collections, so the buyer will not know how much tax a determined product brings inlaid on its final price.

The Government still do not oblige the suppliers and establishments to give information about taxes on their products' price tags. Also, most of the invoices provided by Brazilian stores do not contain any information about the taxes percentage charged on the products. And when the invoices inform something about the taxes inlaid in the purchase, it comes in accountability codes, completely impossible for most people to understand. Down below, you can see how the Brazilian invoice looks like (no information regarding taxes):


If on the one hand there is absolutely no transparency to consumers, on the other hand there are no consumers for transparency. Despite the efforts of some groups, most of Brazilians are still not engaged with a political attitude towards pressuring the government for more transparency in consumption taxation.

Nevertheless, there are some interesting projects like the Feirão do Imposto (Taxes Fair), where people get together to sail and purchase several goods with tax free. The Fair is administrated by young entrepreneurs and it comes as an initiative to inform the population about the high tax burden on consumption. There are also some websites, like the Dieta do "Impostão" and "Hora de Agir", that put right in the open how much the Brazilians are paying in consumption taxes.

Those mobilizations also come to advert that Brazil is a country where people get poor return of their taxes. Even though the population are not mobilizing enough, the protest and educational initiatives are intelligent. Here comes some smart videos about this matter. They are from the campaign "Tributação Transparente" (Transparency Taxation) and were awarded by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

Proposed laws

The law project number 1.472 /07, called “De Olho no Imposto” (Watching out the taxes), establishes that all the invoices must compulsorily discriminate the value of the taxes levied on the consumption of products and services. The project was already approved by the Senate, and is now awaiting to be voted in the House of Representatives.

Nota Fiscal Paulista e Nota Legal

Nota Fiscal Paulista is a program from the government of São Paulo. By informing the CPF or CNPJ in the act of the purchase, consumers have returned 30% of the ICMS tax paid in the products. Because it encourages the consumer to ask for their invoices, the program enforces the establishments to issue the proof of their sales. This way, the state intend to prevent tax evasion.

Nota Legal is a similar project, but operating in the Federal District.

Taxes percentages

In the table below, you can consult the percentages of consumption taxes inlaid in some products.

Item Tax
Tongue depressor 29,57%
Sanitary pads 34,48%
Gym 26,86%
Milk chocolate 38,06%
Sugar 32,33%
Adestramento de cães (serviço) 26,86%
Sweetener 37,19%
Aircraft 28,27%
School diary 43,19%
Agogô (Brazilian instrument) 38,74%
Water 37,88%
Coconut water 34,13%
Deo colony (national) 50,38%
Mineral water 43,91%
Sanitary water 26,05%
Needle 33,78%
Alcohol (cleaning supply) 32,77%
Alcohol (fuel) 25,86%
Cotton for cleaning up 34,67%
Lunch at a restaurant 32,31%
Cushions 33,84%
Softener 34,30%
Peanut 36,54%
Walker 19,27%
Cabinet 37,48%
Shaver 40,78%
Pressure gauge 33,83%
Stereo equipment 36,80%
Mp3 or Ipod 49,45%
Whistle 34,48%
Sharpener 43,19%
Firearm 65,10%
Hair elastics 26,32%
Rice 17,24%
Christimas tree 39,23%
Medical apron 30,63%
Imported codfish 43,78%
Balloon 34,00%
Band-aid 30,39%
Flag 36,20%
Bandolim 39,14%
Banjo 39,21%
Boat 28,31%
Potato 11,22%
Mixer 44,37%
Drums 38,30%
Bicycle 45,93%
Bikini 33,44%
Cookie 37,30%
Scalpel 39,59%
Soccer ball 46,49%
Chocolate cake 33,95%
Purse 39,95%
Leather purse 41,52%
Thermal bag 37,48%
Bonbons 37,61%
Eraser 43,19%
Boot 36,17%
Toys 39,70%
Sun tanning 49,08%
Dinner at restaurant (buffet) 32,31%
Flowers bouquet 17,71%
Car horn 35,66%
Cachaça 81,87%
Neckerchief 34,13%
Hot dog 15,28%
Beach chair 40,62%
Wheelchair 18,04%
Notebook 34,99%
Coffee 19,98%
Caipirinha 76,66%
Loudspeakers 45,81%
Pants 34,67%
Leather pants 39,80%
Jeans 38,53%
Shrimp 33,29%
Shirt 34,67%
Pen 47,49%
Beef 17,47%
Popular house 48,30%
Fur coat (vison) 81,86%
Wedding - church ceremony 0,00%
Civil marriage 16,93%
Catchup 40,96%
CD (Compact disk) 37,88%
Cereals 33,70%
Onions 15,83%
Beer cans 54,80%
Beer bottle 54,80%
Champagne 59,49%
Leather hat 39,80%
Straw hat 33,95%
Cigar 61,56%
Turkey 29,32%
Flip flops 31,09%
Chocolate 38,60%
Cigarette 80,42%
Cement 30,05%
Leather belt 40,62%
Clarinet 39,40%
Blanket 26,05%
Plush rabbit 29,92%
Scholar glue 42,71%
Mattress 28,36%
Computer over BRL 3.000 33,62%
Computador up to BRL 3.000,00 24,30%
Hair conditioner 37,37%
Vet consultation 26,86%
Water bill 24,02%
Electricity bill 48,28%
Telephone bill 46,12%
Contrabass 39,38%
Glasses 37,88%
Rope 34,00%
Disinfectant 26,05%
Deodorants 37,37%
Detergent 30,37%
Diesel 40,50%
Sponge 35,24%
DVD player 50,39%
DVD movie 44,20%
Edredom 36,22%
Ship 28,31%
Christmas decorations 48,02%
Peas 26,05%
Idiom classes 26,32%
Toothbrush 34,00%
Bandage 28,86%
Pencil case 40,33%
Wheat flour 17,34%
Beans 17,24%
Baking powder 38,48%
Iron 45,25%
Binder 39,38%
Filter paper 37,48%
Ribbon 34,00%
Buckles 36,54%
Transverse flute 40,02%
Flowers 17,71%
4-burner stove 27,28%
Fireworks 61,56%
Binder paper 37,77%
Chocolate fondue 38,51%
Cheese fondue 36,54%
Matches 33,87%
Disposable diaper 34,21%
Chicken 16,80%
Fruits 21,78%
Mouth organ 39,58%
Cooking gas 34,04%
Gasoline 53,03%
Fridge 36,98%
Jelly 37,19%
Grass 13,44%
Parasol 37,14%
Electric guitar 39,06%
Hotel accomodation 29,56%
Tickets 40,85%
Yogurt 33,06%
Jewelery 20,22%
Video games 72,18%
Newspaper 14,09%
Bank interests 26,39%
Pencils 34,99%
Fireplace 40,83%
Milk 18,65%
Milk powder 28,17%
Souvenir 17,71%
Sheets 26,05%
Lentils 26,20%
Blender 43,54%
Scholar book 15,52%
Books 15,52%
Tableware 44,52%
Luminary 43,62%
Gloves 40,85%
Briefcase 18,28%
Cornstarch 33,87%
Mayonnaise 33,77%
Travel bags 39,95%
Mesh 34,13%
Butter 36,01%
Margarine 35,98%
Medicine for animal use 13,11%
Medicine for human use 33,87%
Club tuition 26,86%
Notebook (more than BRL 3000) 33,62%
Microfones 46,69%
Microwave 59,37%
Corn 18,75%
Backpacker 39,62%
Tomato sauce 36,05%
Mustard 40,96%
Motorcycle (above 250 cc) 64,65%
Motorcyle up to 125 CC 43,81%
Nuts 36,45%
Sunglasses 44,18%
Kitchen oil 26,05%
Chicken eggs 20,59%
Pans 35,77%
Rolls 16,86%
Loaf bread 16,86%
Aluminum foil 37,96%
Toilet paper (4 rolls) 39,94%
Office paper 37,77%
Air ticket 22,32%
Toothpaste 34,67%
Briefcases 39,97%
Rollers 52,78%
Fish 34,48%
Imported perfume 78,43%
National perfume 69,13%
Piano 39,55%
Paintbrush 35,70%
Popcorn 34,99%
Plants 13,44%
Plastic 0,15 39,89%
Plastic 40,09%
PlayStation 72,18%
Dishes 34,30%
Condoms 18,75%
Suscreen 41,74%
Painting 35,97%
Cheese 16,59%
Juice 36,30%
Soda can 45,80%
Soda bottle 43,91%
Watering can 43,56%
Scholar Rule 44,65%
Watch 53,14%
Magazines 18,73%
Clothes in general 34,67%
Soap bar 30,37%
Soap powder 40,80%
Toilet soap 37,09%
Salt 15,05%
Shoes 36,17%
Saxofone 40,26%
Syringe 29,92%
Cable TV 46,12%
Shampoo 44,20%
Soup 34,35%
Ice cream 37,98%
Popsicle 37,98%
Wine glass 44,40%
Cutlery 34,30%
Tambourine 39,20%
Theater and cinema 30,25%
Keyboard 38,52%
Cellphone 39,80%
Voice telephony 46,17%
TV 44,94%
Roofing 33,95%
Imported snickers 58,59%
Thermometer 38,93%
Bricks 34,17%
Paint 36,17%
Bath towel 26,05%
Tablecloth 26,05%
Tomato 16,84%
Electric toaster 48,21%
Suit 34,67%
Public transport 33,75%
Tractor 31,78%
Pillow 26,05%
Teddy bear 29,92%
Celta car 36,82%
Toyota Corolla 2.0 41,12%
Candles 40,90%
Ventilator 34,30%
Dress 34,67%
Bride dress 34,67%
Vinegar 33,70%
Wine 54,73%
Guitar 38,77%
Violin 38,33%
Whisky 61,22%

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