Brazil – Legal requirements for incorporating a company

Time to read: 3 min

Brazilian legislation requires every nonresident that holds quotas, capital or shares of a Brazilian company appoints an attorney-in-fact that resides in the country, with powers to receive service of process.

Besides granting the power required by law, foreign partners usually grant other powers to their attorneys-in-fact, in order to facilitate the procedures, since all documents executed abroad must be notarized and Apostilled, and once they arrive in Brazil they must be translated by a sworn translator and registered before the Public Registry of Titles and Documents, in order to be valid in Brazil, which is time and money consuming.

Also, all foreign companies holding quotas, capital or shares of the Brazilian company, need a Taxpayer number, called CNPJ. The taxpayer number is not for tax payment purposes, but for controlling purposes only. The foreign partners / holder need to grant a power of attorney for their enrollment at CNPJ, and representation before the Federal Revenue in all matters.

By the time the company is incorporated the Power of Attorney granting the above-mentioned mandatory powers must be presented before the Board of Trade.

Moreover, all Foreign Direct Investment must be registered at the Central Bank of Brazil. This means that every time the foreign shareholder/partner transfers money to the Brazilian company as investment, the respective exchange agreement must be registered at the Central Bank. Such registration is done electronically.

The main effects of such registration are the possibility of remitting dividends and of repatriating the capital invested.

In view of the above, the documents to be presented at the incorporation of a company in Brazil are:

  • Power of Attorney granting to a Brazilian resident powers to accept service of process, for enrollment at CNPJ and representation before the Federal Revenue;
  • In case the foreign partners/shareholders/holder are/is a natural person, a copy of his/her passport;
  • In case the foreign partners/shareholders/holder are/is a legal entity:

– Copy of the passport of the legal representative of the foreign partners/shareholders/holder; and

– Updated Certificate issued by the Board of Trade of the foreign partners/shareholders/holder’s head offices attesting: (a) its existence and good standing, and (b) its legal representatives for the purposes of evidencing that the company was duly represented in the Power of Attorney granted. This document (or a separate one issued by a public authority) must also contain the head offices address, name of shareholders, capital and objectives.

Note that all documents need to be duly notarized and apostilled. Once they arrive in Brazil, they will undergo sworn translation and will be registered at the Public Registry Office in order to be valid.

We would like to point out that the Federal Revenue and commercial banks have increasingly been requesting a series of complementary documents for compliance reasons, so that the final beneficiaries (natural person) of each foreign company holding quotas, capital or shares of Brazilian entities may be identified.

At the chosen bank’s own discretion, other documents may be necessary, as balance sheets, statements and corporate documentation until the end controller (natural person) is identified. These documents must be presented for the opening of a bank account, and banks have been taking quite some time to open the account.

Renata Antiquera
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