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New brazilian resident : CPF or CNPJ ?

Posted 2020-04-23

You have planned to stay in Brazil for a long time, not just for tourism. Maybe, you’re even thinking of launching a business in São Paulo, or Rio de Janeiro…

Whether you’re reading these lines as an individual or a professional, you might have already heard of two essential administrative procedures specific to Brazil : the CPF (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas), and the CNPJ (Cadastro Nacional da Pessoa Jurídica).

Our article intends to describe the principles of these two administrative formalities.

You got a question ? Need an advice ? Don’t hesitate to contact our local teams.


What is CPF (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas) ?


You has just arrived in Brazil for a long-duration stay ? You should already think of acquiring a CPF.

The Individual Taxpayer Registry (CPF) is the document that identifies the taxpayer before the Receita Federal (Tax administration in Brazil). Each individual taxpayer has a CPF Card, or simply CPF, which proves its own registration. It includes an identifier number that still remains the same over the years. Although carrying the card is not mandatory, the CPF number is required in several situations : mostly  in financial operations, such as opening bank accounts.


Who’s the CPF for ?


The following individuals are concerned by the CPF record : 

  • Subject to the presentation of the Annual Income Tax Adjustment Statement (DIRPF).
  • Inventarians, spouses or cohabitants, successors in any capacity or representatives who have an obligation to present the DIRPF on behalf of the estate or the deceased taxpayer.
  • Whose income is subject to withholding income tax, or which is subject to the payment of that tax.
  • Liberal professionals, thus understood those who carry out, without employment, activities that subject them to registration with a professional inspection body.
  • Real estate rental companies.
  • Participants in real estate transactions, including constitution of collateral on property.
  • Those who are required to withhold income tax at source.
  • Holders of bank accounts, savings accounts or financial investments.
  • Those who operate on stock exchanges, commodities, futures and the like.
  • Registered as individual contributors or applicants for benefits of any kind with the National Institute of Social Security.
  • With more than 18 years, who appear as dependents in DIRPF.
  • Overseas residents who have assets and rights in Brazil subject to public registration, including real estate, vehicles, boats, aircraft, shareholdings, 
  • bank accounts and investments in the financial or capital markets.


What is the CNPJ (Cadastro Nacional da Pessoa Jurídica) ?



If you’re thinking of launching a business in Brazil, you might have already heard of the CNPJ : Cadastro Nacional da Pessoa Jurídica.

Indeed, organizing a business, starting a business on the brazilian territory, will require a CNPJ. 

In the following lines, you will understand what CNPJ is, what it is for and its importance for your own company.


CNPJ is the acronym for Cadastro Nacional da Pessoa Jurídica. This document is equivalent to the CPF (Individual Taxpayer Register), for companies.

Every new business needs this identification to exist legally to the State.

The CNPJ is made up of a code composed of 14 numbers. All information regarding your company will be contained in this document, such as:

  • Address
  • Opening date
  • Company name
  • Description of economic activity
  • Legal nature
  • Phone and email


How important is the CNPJ for your company ?

Now that you know what CNPJ is, you may be wondering why your company needs to have one.

The importance of CNPJ for your company is really big. Without this registration, you won’t get the possibility of opening a corporate bank account, for example. And that is just one of the many benefits that having a CNPJ can bring to your business.

Here are the main reasons why acquiring a CNPJ for your business in Brazil is crucial :

  • You’ll be able to enter into employment contracts and register your employees
  • With the CNPJ, you can issue invoices for transactions carried out
  • You can Pay your taxes
  • You get the possibility to enroll in public tenders
  • Borrowing and financing becomes possible


You need further information about getting a CNPJ for your brazilian company ? Feel free to contact our team, we’ll be delighted to help you in your administrative procedures.

Author's post: Europartner Accounting