Brazil is one of the most bureaucratic countries in the world. As such, it is necessary for companies to always diligently keep documents and business records for the time periods determined by government agencies.
Should the company misplace or fail to maintain the documents during the period determined by the authorities, it may have to pay taxes again, be subject to a notice of deficiency or even adversely affect its defense for the failure to provide proof of payment in a potential audit or foreclosure.
Companies nowadays choose to keep electronic documents, on a digital basis, either by means of physical media, flash drives, disk drives and in clouds; however, this process must be duly conducted before any hard copies are destroyed.
How can companies ensure this process?
One of the means of ensuring this process is by implementing Electronic Document Management or Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMSs), which is the combination of the processes, methodologies and technologies whose purpose is to efficiently manage and organize files and documents, to ensure users are able to easily find and use them.
Below is a summary of the main documents and the period during which they should be kept:
Applicable Period for Business Records to Be Kept – Practical Schedule
It is worth mentioning that Invoices (Nota Fiscais) are electronically issued in Brazil and are sent together with a *XML file containing the breakdown of taxes and product classification, generally requested by the State Tax Authorities to avoid any audits. Taxpayers are liable for maintaining the saved the *XML files.
In view of the foregoing, it is clear that companies must implement reliable document safekeeping methods, to prevent any notices, lawsuits and audits. This process also directly influences the company’s cash protection.
Amanda Aparecida Mota