Brazil: National classification of economic activities (CNAE)


published on 9 February 2022 | reading time approx. 1 minute

The National Classification of Economic Activities (CNAE) aims to standardize the economic activity codes in the country and also the framing criteria used by administrative and tax agencies. Every company, private or public organization, as well as establishments involved in agricultural production and non-profit institutions are part of the classification.


In Brazil, the CNAE codes are determined by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), through an International Standard for Industrial Classification (ISIC). Besides providing data for the National Statistical System, the classification is used to identify the activities of each company for the Internal Revenue Service and the Ministry of Labor.

The correct choice of its activities is very important; moreover, a company can have more than one classification, and for each economic activity a code is assigned. When this occurs, it is necessary to indicate which is the main activity.

The correct classification when starting a business can bring tax benefits, since one of the main advantages of the CNAE is the simplification of taxation. The incorrect choice of the activity code could have future implications for the business, including an unnecessary increase in the tax burden.

According to the classification, the company can adopt the Simples Nacional, which consists of an integrated system of taxes and contributions of micro and small companies. Our interdisciplinary team of specialists may assist your company in identifying the correct CNAE for your business and possible tax and labor implications.

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