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Electronic Invoicing in Brazil: NF-e, NFS-e and CT-e


Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world and the largest one in Latin America. For companies willing to expand to Brazil, it is important to learn too that Brazil is one of the countries that stands ahead in the roll-out of a new paperless electronic invoicing system.

Along with Mexico, Brazil is the most prolific e-Invoice issuer LATAM, and the greatest world power in issuing electronic tax documents through its different e-Invoicing models. These models involve the adoption of differentiated systems for billing companies and end consumers for products and services, while operating with different tax authorities.

There are three mandatory electronic documents in Brazil.

NF-e, Electronic Invoice

The NF-e, Electronic Invoice, is the mandatory document in Brazil for the issuance of invoices related to the purchase and sale of products. The structure of the document is based on a file in XML format, which must be declared to the competent tax authority (SEFAZ) for approval before the goods are shipped.

This electronic document must also be delivered to the recipient of the invoice.

NFS-e, electronic invoice for services

The Nota Fiscal de Serviços Eletrônica is the document that SEFAZ establishes as mandatory to document the operations related to the rendering of services between commercial partners.

The decisive aspect in the process of issuing the Nota Fiscal de Serviços Eletrônica focuses, on the one hand, on the declaration to the corresponding local authorities, which represent more than 500 points of entry of invoices. On the other hand, although there is a simplified model of the document, the information may vary according to the needs of the municipality.

CT-e, Document TRansport

The Electronic Transportation Knowledge (CT-e) is the mandatory document required by SEFAZ for the provision of transport services performed by any means (land, air, sea, river and rail).

The issuer of a CT-e will always be a logistics provider who performs transportation services for a customer who needs a goods movement service. Thus, this document represents the Electronic Invoice for the logistics sector in Brazil.


But how is NF-e different from any other electronic invoice? These documents are created following a precise XML format. They must also include an electronic signature, to guarantee their authenticity and integrity, and must be evaluated by the Secretaria de Fazenda, the Brazilian tax authority. In the last decades, mandatory e-invoicing has been an opportunity for businesses to improve thanks to quicker collection times and lower costs associated with document processing.

The NF-e route

In Brazil, there are several steps that must be taken in order to create an electronic invoice:

  1. The sender generates an XML document that contains the information required for the emission of the Brazilian electronic invoice (NF-e). A digital certificate, which will guarantee the authenticity and integrity of the data, must be included.
  2. The tax authority will make an initial evaluation in real time, and send the required authorization of use, without which it is impossible to transport goods.
  3. The sender must print a DANF-e, a paper representation, which must be attached to the shipment. The Government can directly access into the validity of the shipment thanks to this.
  4. The buyer must check in when receiving the goods and make an NF-e check with the tax authority.

For a newcomer, this may seem a long process, but it is actually nothing but a routine procedure. To face this challenge, some companies decide to count on a technological partner that can facilitate this process. This is why EDICOM’s NF-e solution offers total compliance with the defined norms and requirements of Brazilian invoicing, guarantees a complete integration with your ERP and is digitally linked with the Brazilian Tax Authority.

Integrate 100% of your customers and suppliers into your e-commerce platform

EDICOM's DF-e Portal is a value-added web solution that allows you to integrate with your management systems 100% of electronic documents you exchange with clients and suppliers, regardless of the type of tax document (NF-e, NFS-e , CT-e) or the technological capacity of its partners.

Contact us for more information.

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