By Mark Hillary
September 27, 2012

It’s 50 years since The Beatles released “Love Me Do” – their very first record – so I decided to arrange a Beatles themed British party at a local bar in São Paulo this coming Saturday night – Sep 29th.

There will be live music from 17:00 with a local guitarist and singer warming up the event with Brazilian classics then from 19:00 Daniel Malozzi will be singing classic Beatles – and other British – songs. Check out this video of Daniel singing Eleanor Rigby…

There will be British food such as Cottage pie and bangers & mash, plus British beers, including London Pride and Honeydew.

Between 20:00-21:00 there will be several prize events (Daniel will return to sing again after the prizes):

1. The best three British fancy dress costumes will get original 1962 copies of Love Me Do… worth several hundred R$ each – that’s if you can even find a copy in Brazil.

2. Anyone who has registered their name on Facebook will go automatically into a prize draw for Beatles goodies – umbrella, mug etc.

3. Anyone who buys British food at the event gets a raffle ticket – the raffle winner gets some Beatles goodies.

4. The British quiz at 20:00 will cost R$10 per person to enter – the winner takes all the entry money. Last time we did this at the same bar the winner got over R$400.

It’s going to be fun and it’s all British! The singer is great and we have some more surprises for the event too so make sure you come along!

You can find more details and register on the Facebook page for the event here… and why not become a friend of the bar while you are there?

São Paulo’s only micro-brewery produces 5000 liters of beer per month and serves its five home-brewed varieties in three environments: the brewery on the first floor, the bar on the second, and the restaurant on the third. On Tuesday, October 30, the cervejaria will hold it’s very first Gringo Night,” a get-together that welcomes beer-lovers from around the world! Live music with Rodrigo Haddad and The Pure Country Band. Cover charge in the bar area: R$ 12.

When: Tuesday, October 30, at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Av. Pedroso de Morais, 604 – Pinheiros
São Paulo, SP

Site: Website

By Joe Naab
September 19, 2012

The Brazil Business Investor Permanent Visa is one of the best and most available permanent visas for those who have the money to invest, right now R$150,000. This is also a great visa for those who don&#145t actually need to open a serious business, but rather need a vehicle to get permission to live here. As an example, I came here mostly to avoid work for several years, to relax, and to recover from having worked too much. I wanted to buy a house and I wanted to get my money out of the U.S. banking system. This was in 2003.

The investment requirement was much higher at the time. What I did was to create a business that invests in real estate (but not a realtor, an investor). My business bought my house. I lived in it and made it my office. I spent money on home improvements. I later sold it for a nice profit. At no time was my business ever audited, at no time did I have employees, and the renewal process was a breeze.

Myth #1: You Have to Have Employees to Get the Visa

Though there is some truth to this, it is technically not true. To understand this, we must first understand a very important distinction.

The Difference Between A Business Plan and an Actual Business

Most people who get Brazil’s Business Investor Permanent Visa do so by creating a new business from scratch, so we&#145ll focus on this.

In most cases, when you are applying for the investor permanent visa, your business is not yet open and functional. For most people, they only want to open and invest in the business if they get a permanent visa that allows them to live in Brazil all year. This makes sense, right? So, when you are applying for the permanent visa, there is no requirement to already have employees because it is assumed that you haven&#145t yet opened your business. What is required of you is a short and simple business plan, and this business plan will make mention of the employees you plan to have in the future.

I know this may sound obvious, but it’s a critical distinction to make and one of the great myths associated with this visa. You can be as creative and optimistic as you want in your business plan and your business, once running, is under no obligation whatsoever to execute the business plan in it’s exact form. It’s a plan, right? Things can change. There is almost no chance that your business will even be audited during the three year probation” period of the first issue of the visa. If it is audited, and you are making a sincere effort to run the business, you don&#145t have to have even a single employee (yet). You simply explain why you don&#145t have one yet, that you expect to grow and that you will add one soon.

Granted, it would help if you have at least one employee at some point. One way to keep the cost of this low is to hire a housekeeper or maybe an executive assistant on a minimum wage salary, about R$450 per month plus 31% social security taxes, called INSS. No one will work for you 40 hours per week at this salary, but they don&#145t have to. They might give you 15-20 hours per week for this and you can have them do useful things for you and as long as they are a registered worker for your business this counts as having an employee for the purpose of maintaining your visa.

Myth #2: You Have to Start Conducting Business Right Away

Why the hurry? Sure, if you need to start making money right away then get started. Many foreigners who get this visa really don&#145t need the money, it’s just that this is the only visa available to them to get permission to stay year after year. They may have their own money in savings or an online job of some kind. If this is the case, you can wait a year or two after the visa is issued to start your business. It will be open, legally, and maybe you are “working out of your home” in the beginning, but in terms of renting an office space to open a caf, or small language school, or Pilates Studio, or whatever it may be, you can take your time and simply say that you are having a difficult time finding the ideal space to lease. In the meantime, the R$150,000 you have sitting in your business bank account is earning you about R$900 per month after taxes in simple bank interest.

Myth #3: You Can Use the Money You Invested for Personal Expenses

No. Definitely not, and this could get you into trouble. You can not take out capital and add back capital freely as you can do with an LLC or Corporation in the U.S. If you take money out it can only be by paying yourself a taxable wage. If it’s low enough you won&#145t pay income taxes, but 100% of it will be subject to the 31% social security tax, called INSS. If you do this steadily for 15 years you will qualify to receive social security payments when you reach retirement age.

Further, you can&#145t simply gather receipts from things you spend money on that you can creatively call a “business expense”. And, even if it is a legitimate business expense, you still have to get a receipt in the name of your business, with your business&#145 tax ID number, and in a form that makes the expense deductible for your business. This means that the issuing party provide their business tax ID number on the receipt, the date, and their signature. Otherwise, you cannot deduct these types of expenses.

Myth #4: The Ministry of Labor will Review my Permanent Visa Application with a Great Deal of Scrutiny

No, not true, or partially true only to one extent, – they demand that the application process be complete and application forms filled out correctly. What I mean is that they care nothing at all about the type of business you plan to create, whether or not it’s “good for Brazil”, etc. Though you may read this on an official site somewhere, it’s not legally true.

Let me give you some background. I flew up to the Ministry of Labor in Braslia and interviewed, at length, the National Director of Immigration and her three person staff who have the responsibility of reviewing and approving these visas. Without exception, they each made it very clear that they are under legal obligation to approve every single business investor permanent visa application that is submitted property. They can make no subjective judgment whatsoever (nor do they care to!).

Think of the trouble and expense you&#145ve gone through to have reached the point of application for the visa. You&#145ve already created a business in Brazil, opened a bank account for the business, and wired in at least R$150,000 of your own money. They aren&#145t going to say, “well, we don&#145t think Brazil needs another English teacher”. Nor can they legally do this.

It’s very simple. Open and fund the business property, send in a complete, error-free application, and your visa will be approved within 30 days, by law.

Myth #5: I Need an Attorney to Get the Business Investor Permanent Visa

You in no way need an attorney to get this visa. You can use one, certainly. All of them are happy for the business and if you don&#145t want to do any of this yourself, and you are a keen negotiator and know how much to pay for this service, then go for it. 99% of them will never have done this before, though they will claim that they know it all. To do the entire process for you, from beginning to end, you will receive quotes of R$10,000 to R$20,000. Or, you might get a quote for R$5,000 in the beginning and then find that this was only to take you to a certain point, and not to the end.

Be very careful engaging Brazilian Attorneys in Brazil. The best and most ethical ones, who hopefully came to your through a strong referral, plan to earn about R$250 per hour when they make a bid to help you. Some won&#145t provide a fixed bid, they&#145ll charge by the hour and you are in grave danger of sticker shock at the end of the process.

If you choose to pay someone to do it all for you, a reasonable price might be R$5,000 to R$7,000, and expect to pay about R$1500 in other costs. If you do it entirely alone, expect to pay only the R$1500 in other costs. You can employ someone like me, who won&#145t do the work for you, but will provide you a detailed checklist, will coach you through through the process, occasionally make phone calls for you in Portuguese, for about R$4,000, give or take a bit depending on complexity. And, by the way, I do this process much faster and more efficiently than any attorney. Without exception, the people I&#145ve helped through this visa all started with attorneys and the process was done completely wrong at great expense and I came in to clean it up.

Bonus Myth #6: I am Required to Have a Brazilian Business Partner

You are not required to have a Brazilian business partner. This type of business does require two owners and an Administrator who is not an owner, but can be one of the owners. The only thing required here is that the Administrator, not either of the owners, be either a Brazilian or a Foreigner with a permanent visa. This is required because until you have your permanent visa, you are not allowed to sign legal documents on behalf of your business.

Be careful who you choose. The administrator is the only person who can manage the business bank account, and you&#145ve just wired R$150,000 into it! Once you have your permanent visa the first thing you can do is have the articles of incorporation (called “Contrato Social”) amended to make you the Administrator and to remove the original person. Then, make sure to pass this information on to the bank.

In Closing

I hope this helps clarify and dispel some of the more common myths surrounding Brazil’s Business Investor Permanent Visa. Good luck to you!

DISCLOSURE: All information herein given is merely for elucidative purposes. It reflects current legislation, which can be modified in the future. In case of questions regarding a particular case/issue, always consult with your own attorney.

Joe Naab is the author of Brazil for Life!, a how-to living guide for those who want to start a new life or have a second home in Brazil. He is presently working on a near-coastal, countryside real estate subdivision project outside the city of Florianpolis, Santa Catarina. He can be found at http://brazilforlife.com and reached by email at info@brazilforlife.com. His Youtube channel is called BrazilforLifeTV.

Previous articles by Joe:

Forro – Getting Started with Brazilian Partner Dancing
Making Super Smoothies With Acai for Optimum Health
Add Thousands of Brazilian Portuguese Words to Your Vocabulary Right Now
How to Work and Support Yourself in Brazil

By Ed Catchpole
September 9, 2012

Carnival in the historic Brazilian city of Olinda is a non-stop, noisy affair that showcases Brazilians at their very best; happy, energetic and creative. Wearing costumes of every possible description they jump to the sound of the Frevo brass and percussion bands in 40-degree heat spraying one another with water-pistols wearing cans of beer around their necks. The party rocks day and night, long after the official four day religious festival has ended.

But all good things must come to an end and in early March each year the revelers start to melt away, the tourists move on and Olinda’s original residents – who had left to escape the noise – move back home and the town returns to its sleepy self.

Right now, Brazil feels like it’s on the brink of a just such a post-carnival hangover. It has been quite a party. Festivities have been in full swing across the country since 2004 to the rhythm of the Lula Model, the growth engine unofficially named after Brazil’s former president, based on high demand for Brazil’s commodities such as Chinese appetite for iron ore, which has in turn fuelled a domestic credit boom.

The recent Brazilian growth miracle has propelled the country to the heights of the second largest emerging market in the world, briefly knocking the UK off sixth-place in global GDP rankings in 2012.

Foreign companies, excited by the prospect of one of the few growth markets in the world post-financial crisis have piled in, as Brazilians snap up flat screen TVs, cell phones, fridges and cars. And credit has expanded to pay for it all. The number of credit cards issued between 2004 and 2011 grew 132%, according to Brazilian credit consultancy, GoOn, a higher rate than the United Kingdom.

However, just like Olinda there are signs that the party might be winding down.
Firstly, on the domestic front there are signs now that the Brazilian consumer may have overdone it. According to a study by the Brazilian Consumer Defense Association (Proteste Study) debt servicing now represents an average 46% of monthly household income. And for lower income Brazilians, who have largely driven the consumer boom, debts in arrears are rising (from 22.4% in July to 23.7% in August, 2012).

Then there is Brazil’s export performance. One good indication is that showcase of Brazilian industrial might, the mining giant, Vale Do Rio Doce. This year it has seen falling Chinese demand for its iron ore, which has halved in value in the last year and has reined in spending accordingly. The Chinese slowdown is already having an impact on the Brazilian economy and a hard landing would undoubtedly exacerbate this situation. If these two wheels have indeed fallen off Brazil’s wagon, does that mean the party is over?

Well, Brazilian consumers here aren&#145t likely to lose their substantial appetite for the latest gadgets or cars anytime soon, so the idea this is a massive consumer market is absolutely correct.

There are also signs that the current Rouseff administration recognizes things need to change and aims to tackle Brazil’s problem head-on to increase competitiveness. It launched one of the largest infrastructure projects in the world last month to reduce bottlenecks. It has also reduced taxes (today it announced electricity bills will be cut by 16% in 2013), lowered interest rates and cut Federal VAT (IPI) on cars.
But can such tinkering really keep the shuttlecock in the air?” – as the Brazilians say.

The key question I think is how long all this will take? While the government has a lot of room to maneuver and money to spend, the improvements to infrastructure will take years. There are also deeply entrenched interests in Brazil that do not necessarily want to see any changes at all, i.e. some trade unions oppose any modernization of its archaic labor laws. Another Achilles heel is educational reform, which would require a whole generation before any improvement is clear.

Personally, I think the Brazilians will be able to party on, but the 24 hour Olinda street carnival is definitely over. For the foreseeable future festivities here are likely to assume the frivolity of a low alcohol beach Luau.

Previous articles by Ed:

Brazil: Super Toucans and Little Freddy Seaside
Brazil: Adventures in Portuguese