So you’ve been in Brazil for a while and have been hit by the 60% tax on everything that comes into the country?
Today I am going to show exactly what little simple loophole you can use to get around that, so you can send or receive packages to Brazil tax-free!
But before I continue, I would like to tell you a little story….
A while back, a good friend of mine had been living as a volunteer in Brazil for many years. He was dependent on donations and support in order to carry on doing what he did and things were usually pretty tight month after month.
An acquaintance of his saw his struggles, good heart and service, and wanted to help out! He and his wife back in the USA put together a box full of amazing things.
I remember that it had clothes, special American treats he couldn’t get in Brazil and one little thing that set off the customs alarm – a little tablet device!
This couple back in the USA sent this package out of the goodness of their hearts and really meant well – they wanted it to be a surprise. A surprise is what they wanted and a surprise is what he got!
The package arrived in Brazil at the post office, my friend then got a letter in the mail with a shocking message “your package from Tom Johnson has arrived, in order to pick it up, you will need to pay a customs fee of $R276.00”
$R276. (That’s about $140 USD)
The value of the contents on the American market was probably around $125…so, he forked over the $R276 to the post office from his already struggling account, and got his package…
This is something that you will want to avoid like the plague! Sometimes the customs agent values and taxes it based on what the price list on the internet says or sometimes he just makes a value up if he can’t find a price.
How does Brazil’s Import Taxes function?
Brazil would rather produce their own nationalized products rather than import other countries’ products.
So whenever anything non-exempt of tax is imported into the country, you are subject to pay the following taxes (note: the below links are in Portuguese, you can use translate.google.com to aid you):
So basically a bunch of different “fees” and taxes that will make you pay over 60% of the original “declared” value unless…
You utilize a loophole so that you can avoid all of these taxes: Any item declared under $50 and marked as “gift” is tax free. This is also true for books and CDs of any value.
Here is how you do it in 3 simple steps:
1. Filling the Package up
Here is the first and most important thing you need to know when sending a package: don’t lie! (not that you would of course)
The customs agents will scan or open the package if it looks suspicious – so be as transparent as possible.
Here are a few good things to fill a package with that slip through:
- Spices, dressings etc
- Packaged food items
- Hair products, perfume, lotions etc
- Other “non-technology” items
This basically means that you can send items that you may normally use “day to day” without
I once received a huge moving box full of these types of things, I mean FULL to the brim, without getting charged any tax.
Things that the customs people generally keep an eye on are:
- Technology of any sort
- Other potentially resalable items
In other words, make sure if you send the above, that it costs less than 50 bucks – it’s even better if you have some type of price tag still on the item.
The size of the box doesn’t matter, just the value of its contents.
When you are packing the contents and writing the address on the package, here are a couple of tips based on experience:
- Pack the items in a plastic waterproof bag inside the box.
- Cover the “To” and “From” addresses in clear packing tape.
The reason I say the above, is due to the fact that I once had a package arrive, which had been either completely submerged in water or soaked in the rain, the only legible thing left on the package was the “To” address!
2. Declaring and Sending the Package
When you go to the post office to declare the package, make sure that you declare AND insure it for under $50 – if you insure it for more, a red flag will be raised and you could risk the receiver paying tax.
When asked to declare the items in the box and quantities etc, be observant of the following:
- Don’t declare item for item, make a summary of the items and write the value.
- Make sure that the total is under $50 dollars, but don’t write $49.99 – that just looks suspicious.
- Insure the package if you are worried about it not arriving.
- Don’t ever send anything irreplaceable via the post office, only use a courier service for this type of thing!
- The sending option you choose doesn’t really matter as it can take some time to get through customs.
Once the package has been sent, expect up to 3-4 weeks for it to arrive. My experience is that it can take anywhere from 7-8 days (if it doesn’t get stuck in customs) to 4 weeks (if it get’s stuck). Obviously you want to plan on the worst case scenario and hope for the best.
3. Receiving the Package
If the package is small enough and it doesn’t get stuck in customs, it is usually delivered directly to the receivers door.
If it is a larger package or one you need to pay import tax on, then you have to bring a little slip they will mail to you, to the post office.
If you get charged import tax, then take the little slip with you to the post office and wait to be attended to. After you are attended to, give them the slip and payment amount written on it. You can usually pay with either cash or Credit Card.
Here is a video I made on how to find a “Correios” post office:
This is a shorter but more practical post today – but very important in my eyes.
Anyone who is planning on staying in Brazil for a long amount of time or knows someone who is, can make use of this information.