Investing from Brazil

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São Paulo Stock Exchange Building

Investing from Brasil provides information for investors domiciled in Brasil who wish to apply the Bogleheads® investment philosophy. There are a series of peculiarities you must be aware of. This article introduces some of them.

In particular, the choice from the investing options available are not entirely advantageous to the use of a Boglehead and a DIY approach. The costs of funds including ETFs and the range of funds available to Brasil tax domiciled residents are significant issues that should be carefully researched and understood before committing to any purchases. Please ask portfolio questions in the Bogleheads forum and contact a professional advisor before acting on them.

Considerations for investing from Brasil

Generally investing in an emerging market such as Brasil is somewhat different than investing in US, and here are some reasons:

Conservative investment culture

Despite lower yields in comparison to other investments, saving accounts remain the favorite option among Brazilians holding some money. According to a survey by the National Confederation of Store Managers (CNDL) and the Credit Protection Service (SPC Brazil), this is the case for 65% of people. In addition it is worth noting that only 20% of people actually manage to save. The survey went on to state that investments in private pension accounts totaled for 7% of mentions, while investment funds, bank deposit certificates and federal government bonds accounted for 5%, 4% and 4%, respectively.

The second most common form of saving among Brazilians is to leave money at home, reported by 25% of respondents

Brazilians’ high usage of savings accounts and the high share of assets under management (AUM) invested in fixed income products places it on the conservative end of the investment spectrum, especially when compared to other emerging markets.


A normal inflation rate here is 4.5%. Last year (2019) the inflation rate was 6%, while an alternative index had a 10%+ rate.


Taxes payable by individuals include personal income tax, social security tax and gift and inheritance tax.

Brazilian resident individuals are taxable on their worldwide earnings, as well as gains on the disposal of worldwide assets and rights. An individual is resident in Brazil where:

  • Has a habitual residence in Brazil;
  • Works for a Brazilian government department or agency outside Brazil;
  • Enters Brazil under a permanent visa;
  • Enters Brazil under a temporary visa to work and remains in Brazil for more than 184 days within a 12-month period.

The personal income tax rate is 27.5 percent. (The standard corporate rate is 15 percent, but other taxes, including a financial transactions tax, make the effective rate 34 percent).

Fixed income

Bond funds are taxed from 22.5% to 15%, depending how long you keep them.


Stock funds are taxed at 15%.

If you own stocks and sell less than R$20,000 per month you pay no tax on the appreciation.

Gains from sale of equities

Capital gains on the sale of stock sold on a Brazilian stock exchange are exempt from tax if the proceeds from the sale are less than R$20,000 on a monthly basis. If the proceeds from the sale exceed this amount, the capital gain is subject to a flat 15% tax rate. Capital losses from the sale of stock sold on a Brazilian stock exchange may be used to offset capital gains on a monthly basis. Any unused losses may be carried forward to future months and future years.

Capital gains from stock sold on a non Brazilian stock exchange are subject to a flat tax rate of 15% if the proceeds from the sale exceed R$35,000. Capital losses from such sales may not be used to offset capital gains.

The corresponding tax on all capital gains must be paid by the last day of the month following the month of the sale.


Brazil follows a dividend exemption system. Amounts distributed to shareholders resident in Brazil or abroad (since the investment is registered at the Brazilian Central Bank (BCB)) are not subject to withholding tax. There is no dividend distribution, everything is always reinvested. Stock dividends pay no tax.

(Note that gains from the sale of stock or personal property outside of Brazil that was acquired prior to becoming a resident of Brazil is not taxable).

Tax losses carried forward

Tax losses can be carried forward to offset against future profits up to 30% of the real profits arising in each period (year). Losses that are offset may be carried forward indefinitely. There are restrictions on losses transferred as a result of a company merger or where there is a change in the control and activity of the loss generating company

Treaty and non treaty withholding rates

The overall rate of withholding tax at source used in the remittance of interest and royalties is 15%, except for Japan with a rate of 12.5%. There is no tax on the remittance of dividends. Any remittances to tax haven countries (blacklist) are subject to withholding tax at the rate of 25%.

Brazil has signed treaties to avoid double taxation with several countries including:

Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Italy, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, South Africa, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, and Ukraine.

General deductions from income allowed in Brazil

General deductions allowable to taxpayers current in 2020[1].

Resident taxpayers are entitled to claim dependents as a deduction.

Payments of alimony and child support by the taxpayer pursuant to a Brazilian court decision are deductible for tax purposes by the taxpayer and must be included in taxable income by the recipient.

Employee contributions to the social security system withheld from salary and wages by the employer on a monthly basis are deductible in determining the monthly tax assessment and on the annual tax return.

Amounts paid by the taxpayer to Brazilian domiciled private pension plans are deductible for purposes of the monthly tax calculation and on the annual income tax return, limited to 12 percent of gross income.

Un-reimbursed medical expenses incurred by the taxpayer on their own behalf or in respect of treatment received by a dependent are deductible on the annual income tax return.

Pension income from Brazilian government plans received by individuals 65 years of age or older is not taxable up to a prescribed limit. (The current limit is R$1,903.98 per month).

Education expenses for the taxpayer or their dependents are deductible up to a prescribed amount. (Currently the annual limit is R$3,561.50 per student).


Bond funds costs 0,7-3,5% per year.

Most stock funds costs 4% per year.

Single stock funds costs 1,5% per year. (The fund invests in only 1 stock and charges 1,5% per year). There are have some iShares ETFs with 0,69-0,79% cost. There is an index ETF called PIBB that costs 0,0059% per year, which is probably the cheapest fund in the world.

Investment options in Brasil


The more or less equivalent of cash is called "Poupança", a type of saving account that yield always ~0,5% per month. This return is obligatory by law. There is no tax on the returns.


In Brasil there is a product somewhat similar to Treasury Direct. In Brasil it is called "Tesouro Direto", and you can check the rates here: ... itulos.asp . The IPCA ones yielding ~5.8/6.5% are the exact equivalent of TIPS. They do have a cost of at least ~0,3% per year and are taxed 15%.


Our main index (Ibovespa - IBOV) contains only 69 stocks.[2] 85% of our capitalization is made of only 75 stocks. The small cap index (with the bottom 15%) has only 55 stocks in it. We then have a few hundred micro cap stocks that trade VERY thinly, with less than 1 trade for MONTH and 10-15% spreads. Two "giga" stocks dominates 30% of the Ibov index - "Petrobras" and "Vale do Rio Doce".


REITS dividends pay NO tax. Current yield (based only on dividends, not total return) on many funds are currently ~8,5% even after a 30% runup last year.


Pension system

The Brazilian pension system is structured in three pillars[3]:

  • A public, mandatory, pay-as-you-go system known as general social security regime (RGPS);
  • The Pension Regimes for Government Workers (RPPS);
  • The Private Pension Regime (RPC) - Occupational and Individual plans.

The Brazilian pension system has been subject to a series of ongoing reforms undertaken since the late 1990s. The need for reforms stemmed primarily from an overgenerous pension system that placed heavy pressure on the governmental budget.

Public Pensions

In Brazil, the 1st pillar consists of two schemes. The so-called Regime Geral de Previdência Social (RGPS), the general regime of social security, covers the private-sector workforce. It is financed through payroll taxes (shared by the employer and the employee), revenues from sales taxes and federal transfers that cover shortfalls of the system.

Private-sector employees are entitled to retire with a full pension at age 65 for men and 60 for women if they have a contribution record of at least 15 years. Alternatively, it is possible to retire after having contributed to social security for 35 years for men and 30 years for women, irrespective of the retiree's age.

Public-sector employees are covered by multiple special pension regimes at different governmental levels pooled to the Regimes Próprios de Previdência Social (RPPS). Municipal, federal and state entities manage their own schemes for their employees, but are jointly coordinated by the Ministry of Pensions and Social Assistance. In general, these pension plans are financed on a pay-as-you-go basis with the employee paying a percentage of their salary. The percentage varies depending on the public entity.

Voluntary Pensions Plans

Complementary pensions have a long history in Brazil and the county has the oldest system in Latin America. Under the Regime de Previdência Complementar (RPC), both occupational and personal pensions are provided on a voluntary basis. Two pension vehicles exist that can be used to finance private pension benefits.

Tax treatment of contributions and benefits

In general, contributions to private pension plans are tax-deductible up to certain limits for both the employee and the employer. Pension benefits are taxed as ordinary income.

Investment regulation

Quantitative investment restrictions apply to pension assets as follows:

  • Low credit risk bonds are limited to 80%; this limit decreases with increasing credit risk
  • Listed stocks are limited to 50%
  • Private equity is limited to 20%
  • Real estate is limited to 10%, which will decrease to 8% by 2009
  • One single company must not exceed 20% of the company's capital, and only up to 5% of the pension fund assets may be invested in any one single company.


See also


  1. "KPMG taxation guide (KPMG)".
  2. "Bovespa Index (Ibovespa)".
  3. "Brasil Pension System (ABRAPP)" (PDF).

External links