With an efficient and well-developed banking system, it's fairly simple for expats to manage banking, money and taxes in Brazil. However, as is commonly the case with financial matters, a fair amount of documentation and bureaucracy is required.
Currency in Brazil
The Brazilian currency is the real (BRL), which is divided into 100 centavos.
Notes: 2 BRL, 5 BRL, 10 BRL, 20 BRL, 50 BRL and 100 BRL
Coins: 5 centavos, 10 centavos, 25 centavos, 50 centavos and 1 BRL
Banking in Brazil
Expats in Brazil have a variety of options and services available when it comes to managing their finances. Banking in Brazil can be costly as banks charge users a percentage for every transaction. Expats are advised to shop around to find out which bank will offer them the best deal for their needs.
Online banking is popular in Brazil. It's possible to pay certain utility bills online. However, expats should note that many online services are only available in Portuguese. Banking hours in Brazil are generally Monday to Friday, from 10am to 4pm.
Opening a bank account in Brazil
Opening a bank account in Brazil is straightforward. That said, foreigners will need a residence visa to open an account. Other documents required for opening a Brazilian bank account usually include a valid identity document, a taxpayer’s number (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas, or CPF), proof of domicile and proof of residence. The documents necessary may differ depending on the bank and type of account in question.
ATMs and credit cards in Brazil
ATMs are widely available in Brazil. Customers are able to withdraw cash as well as make bill payments at ATMs.
Some parts of Brazil are largely cash-based economies, so it's wise to always carry sufficient cash on hand. Still, international debit and credit cards are widely accepted in larger metropolitan areas.
Taxes in Brazil
Brazil has a pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax system whereby income tax is based on worldwide income and is generally paid monthly. Residents who pay income tax in Brazil are also required to file an annual income tax return. The Brazilian tax year is from January to December.
The rate at which expats pay tax in Brazil depends on their tax residency status. For tax purposes, a person is deemed a resident of Brazil if they hold a permanent visa, or if they hold a temporary visa and stay in Brazil for more than 183 days within a 12-month period.
Residents are required to pay tax on their income worldwide, although Brazil does have treaties in place with several countries to avoid double taxation.
Given the complexity of expat taxation, new arrivals can benefit from consulting with a tax professional who is familiar with the tax system in Brazil.