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More on Brazil’s NF-e (e-Bill of Lading) Requirements

Under Brazilian law, the NF-e is replacing the conventional, hard-copy nota fiscals (bill of lading)with an electronic counterpart which must be digitally signed and shaped into a particular government specified XML format. For many organizations this switch must be accomplished by April 1, 2010.

Brazil has put in place a different and far more involved electronic bill of lading requirement than other countries. The implementation of NF-e requires real-time reporting to the Ministry of Finance (SEFAZ), which then issues an electronic authorization (along with a bar code) that must be included on the printed paper Bill of Lading which accompanies the product delivery. This is in contrast to the requirements of most countries that only require reporting at the end of certain date ranges like months or quarters. Let’s discuss this point in more detail.

Under these new requirements a company receives an order from a customer and must prepare a bill of lading in the SEFAZ designated XML format, submit to SEFAZ and receive an electronic authorization which must be added to the bill of lading and then printed before the product is shipped and sent with the product delivery. The term “before shipped” is important. There must be a real time electronic exchange of data that goes to SEFAZ, and an electronic authorization returned before it leaves the warehouse.

If the delivery truck is stopped by the police, the bill of lading can be scanned with a police bar code scanner which queries SAFAZ electronic authorization database and identifies the products associated with it. This must match or you are in big trouble.

Think about the IT infrastructure that must be in place to support these real-time interactions between ERPs and SEFAZ! These processes are new, different and unique and are not supported in traditional ERPs. Most companies will be searching for a managed B2B service that can perform these functions (send and receive the appropriate XML and follow the designated rules and processes defined by SEFAZ) and integrate with their existing IT infrastructures.

SAP/Crossgate (Crossgate is co-owned by SAP) have this service available.

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  • Hello Kevin!
    at first, I would like to give you my sincere Congrats!! It is very grateful to see people around the globe interested in our localization peculiarities.

    You are correct! The investment into IT structure from the Government and companies is great concerning this issue.

    The Government created this product so that he can control companies fiscal life. In fact, NF-e is a protocol you get “everytime” you issue a new bill (Nota Fiscal). So, if you are OK with all your fiscal requirements and obligations, you receive the “hash-code” and the 44-position bar-code.

    But, communication problems between the company and SEFAZ can happen during the process, which is not the company’s guilt. So, in this case, the company can issue a hard-copy of the bill (Nota Fiscal) in currency paper. Thus, no invoicing breaks happen. Later, the company informs SEFAZ the NF numbers issued through paper media.

    Some other problems arose. In case you wanna discuss about them, please let me know. It would be a great pleasure to be of any help to your blog!!

    Thanks a lot!

  • Hi,
    Thnks for nice blog..Can you plz let me know..Nota fiscal is required for professional services wherein No goods moment .Only we gerenerate the debit memo request and debitmemo.


      • Hi, I`m sorry I took so long to come back to our discussion.

        Regarding NF-e for services, they follow the same model of approval. But we have to differ Nf-es a little.
        SEFAZ is a Brazil Government entity which has a branch division based on the states. So, we have SEFAZ/SP for São Paulo State, for example.
        Good so far. In the NF-e we have many different taxes (ICMS, IPI, ISS, IR….) which have their values routed to different scales of the Government. Let me explain:
        IR (Income Tax) has its amount routed to the Federal government. ICMS (Tax over Products and Services) is routed to the States government. And, if you a contractor who only sells professional services, you should pay ISS (Tax over Services) which belongs to the Cities.
        As you can see, the model is the same, but the number of communication RFCs will vary with the number of places you do business inside Brazil territory. Or, you can configure all of them as a contingency measure.
        So, if you are a contractor, you sure could use NF-e to reduce your costs and speed up your invoicing, but you have to keep all your taxes up to date with all Government spheres.
        I hope this has answered your questions. But feel free to get in contact for any further doubt you might have.

  • I’m worried about the SAP treatment in some cases of special regimen for sugarcane transportation. I think it’s the same for pulp and paper industries.