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Guide on importing for account and order

In this article we will talk a little bit about an import modality used recurrently by some Brazilian importers, but still unknown by many: Import for the Account and Order of Third Parties, or or Import on Behalf. 

In this operation there is a link between two Brazilian companies, each of which assumes a specific function in the process. In addition to other operational advantages, there may still be a significant linking two Brazilian companieseach one assumes a specific function in the process. In addition to other operational advantages, there may still be a significant financial economy, as we detail in the course of this we will detail in the course of this article. 

Types of Imports 

To talk about Import on Behalf it is necessary to understand that in Brazil there are specific types of import operations: direct importation, importation by order and importation by account and order of third parties. 

The direct import or on own accountas the name implies, is the one in which the importer performs on his own account all the procedures inherent to the import process and nationalizes the goods on his behalf. 

In importação por conta e ordem de terceiros and and import on demand, a trading or commercial importer will be responsible for nationalizing the goods for subsequent invoicing to the buyer, assuming the role of importing company.a trading or commercial import will be responsible for the nationalization of the goods for subsequent invoicing to the buyerassuming the role of importing company.

How Import on Behalf Works

The Import on Behalf processor Import for the Account and Order of Third Parties,is an operation in which two companies are linked: the first, usually a trading or commercial import, assume o papel de importadoraand the second one acts as buyer of the goods, that is, it is the real interested party in acquiring the good. It is the acquiring company that is in charge of negotiating the purchase, usually it already has an exporter of interest and is already in commercial negotiations with him, but if it prefers, it can request that the trading participate in the negotiation.

Also known as third-party importing outsourced importingthis type of operation tends to be much simpler for acquiring companies that do not have the technical knowledge or the availability of personnel to get involved in the day to day operations of importing, since it is under responsibility of the importer to do the procedures from the moment of cargo readiness until the arrival of the good in Brazil and the conclusion of the customs clearance..

Legal Basis of Import on Behalf 

The Import by Account and Order operation is guided by Normative Instruction No. 1,861 of 2018, which establishes the requirements and conditions for the correct performance of companies interested in this modality.

This IN lists the procedures and specific documents for the type of operation, and can be accessed by clicking on the link link

How is the Binding of Companies in the Import for Account and Order? 

To operate the Import for Account and Order, it is necessary that both companies, importer and buyerare linked specifically for this purpose at the IRS. 

The linking needs to be done before the nationalization of the cargo, preferably at the beginning of the shipping negotiations. This requires two procedures:

- Signing of a contract for services rendering of Import on Account and Order by the two companies; and

- Electronic link through the Siscomex Single Portal (

Step by Step Import on Behalf

To start the Import on Behalf process it is necessary that both companies are able to operate in foreign trade, that is, with active radar.If the acquiring company is not qualified, it is necessary to qualify it before starting the process. It is also mandatory that the company is allocated to the sub-modality equivalent to the value of the operation. For example: if a company has the ability to import with a limit of USD 150,000 per semester, the value of its CIF operation cannot exceed this value.

Qualification completed, it is necessary to link buyer and importer.This step is done by linking as mentioned above, with the signing of a contract and electronic procedure at PUCOMEX.

According to IN 1.861, of 2018, which regulates the Import by Account and Order operation, all documentation of the operation needs to cite the two linked companies, that is, both, importer and acquirer, need to be described in the exporter's invoice.

With the documentation in hand, the trading company, acting as the importer, can calculate the forecast of all the costs for nationalization:federal and state taxes, logistics and port expenses, among others.

The customer approves the values and the operational process begins.The shipment date is set and the transit to Brazil is monitored, when the import is effectively materialized through the registration of the DI and customs clearance. The trading takes care of all these procedures, issues the entry invoice, and then the exit invoice to the buyer, delivering the goods. In other words: the acquiring company receives the goods and its invoice, and its effective action in the process was the negotiation with the exporter and the payment of the operation. 

Benefits of Import on Behalf 

  1. The tradingwhich has foreign trade as its core business, performs all the operational steps of the process

The Import on Behalf operation is very interesting mainly because it does not require operational effort from the acquiring company. The day to day of foreign trade is very dynamic and demands time and care from those who wish to work directly with it. 

Companies that do not have the interest, technical staff, or availability of time to get directly involved in the operational day to day, find in Target, which acts as an importer, the arm responsible for guiding the process all the way, leaving more time available to focus on their business. 

  1. Financial Economics

We only recommend importing on behalf of a third party when there are financial savings for the buyer. In situations where there is no possibility of financial savings, other more assertive services may be indicated, such as advisory or consulting services for importation. 

Target has ICMS import tax benefit in some Brazilian states. This implies that, when making an import on behalf of third parties with Target, the acquirer "catches a ride" on the ICMS of the importing company, paying a lower ICMS tax burden than it would normally pay if it performed the direct import. 

In addition, the trading company usually achieves a reduction in import expenses due to its expertise in analyzing specific opportunities and good commercial agreements with logistics and clearance partners.

  1. Improved cash flow

Importing on behalf of a third party does not require the payment of the advance sales tax (ICMS) charged by many Brazilian states when the import is done directly. This represents a significant gain in the company's cash flow. 

How Much Does it Cost to Import on Behalf?

We consider that the Import on Behalf operation is a mirror of the Direct Import, but including the bonus of considerably reducing the disbursement of the state tax (ICMS) by using a specific tax benefit from Target. 

For being able to offer this benefit to clients, a percentage is charged on the savings of the Import on Behalf process in comparison to the operation that would have been done directly by the acquirer.In other words, the trading company takes care of all the service rendering and the final cost of the import is even lower than if the acquirer were to perform it directly. 

To know the exact value, it is necessary to assemble the costs foreseen for the actual process, that is, to study the exporter's invoice, the best logistics applicable, the taxes levied, etc.

Import on Behalf - Case Study

We have a client who has been importing directly for some years, but was looking for options to reduce costs. When we presented our Import on Behalf solution, they were initially a little doubtful: if the option was so good, why hadn't we ever talked to them about it before? They consulted their accountant and after approval from different stakeholders, they decided to do an initial test. Since then, six years of continuous imports by account and order with Target. 

Target takes care of the shipping documentation, analyzes the tax classification suggested by the supplier - which avoids unnecessary questioning from the Internal Revenue Service -, finds better and cheaper logistics options, follows the transit from origin to destination, hires the best partners for customs clearance, and follows up the cargo clearance until the end, besides presenting the total expected costs, making the account meeting, and already delivering the nationalized goods with national shipping invoices.

Besides the above benefits, it is possible to maintain a savings trend that is around 5% if compared to the direct import process, full ICMS credit highlighted on the delivery note, and avoid the payment of ICMS anticipation.

When closing the commercial negotiation with the acquiring company, we issue the service provision contract, link it to PUCOMEX and the processes flow naturally from then on. When starting a new import, the acquirer only needs to notify us and we follow the operational negotiations with the exporter. The process is much simpler and more profitable for the acquiring company.


In summary, the importation by account and order is a type of importation in which the acquiring company (final customer) hires an importing company (trading) to take care of all the importation procedures, invoice and deliver the goods nationalized. This type of importation is only recommended when its cost is lower than the direct importation cost by the acquiring company.

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