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Brazil’s banking sector is efficient and well-developed with the result that managing banking, money and taxes when moving to Brazil isn't excessively complicated. However, like in many countries, it will require a fair amount of documentation and bureaucracy.
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
The Brazilian banking sector is well developed. Expats 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 a deal that best suits their needs.
Online banking is very 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. However, foreigners will need a residence visa in order 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) and proof of residence. The documents needed 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. It’s therefore wise to always carry sufficient cash on hand. However, international debit and credit cards are widely accepted in the larger metropolitan areas.
Taxes in Brazil
Brazil has a pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax system whereby income tax on income received, whether abroad or locally, is generally paid monthly. Residents who pay income tax in Brazil are also required to file an annual income tax return.
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.
►For more on managing your finances in Brazil, see Cost of Living in Brazil
Are you an expat living in Brazil?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Brazil. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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