How to receive a Salary in Brazil while working for a company abroad
How to receive a Salary in Brazil while working for a company abroad

A quick brief

The main goal of this article is to explain how you, as a brazilian, can work properly for a company abroad, what are the things you should be aware and how can you proceed to have everything set up. We're going to dive into this topics:

  • Invoices for the win
  • How to receive payments from companies abroad
  • The different timezones issue
  • Async first! Be prepared to be answered late

Each of the topics above will be covered in a general point of view, I'll give my personal point of view, and experience in each one, and if you still have doubts about any topic you can contact me here on Linkedin or view Telegram.

But first, some considerations:

I won't explain how things work for Individuals (aka PF in Brazil), only for Individuals operating as a Company (aka PJ in Brazil). If you want to keep paying abusive taxes for the government and try to make a Individual contract abroad is up to you, I think it's quite better to work as a Company and declare what you do as a Service, also having less fees and controlling the majority of your own money doing whatever you want with it.


Invoices for the win

You may be asking what is an Invoice. An invoice is a document that you send to the company you work for charging them for your work. I'll show a template here and explain how this invoice is structured.

As you can see this is a very simple document, basically you fill it with your data and the company's data, also put your bank account details which in this case will be the details about your global payment service bank account. Now, if you have any doubt about this document or want a deep explanation please come to me. You should send this document to the financial responsible and ask him/she to check it for you.

How to receive payments from companies abroad

There's a considerable number of ways for us to do that, I'll list some of them and after that I'll explain the way I've adopted for myself.

This is the way a common payment reach out your local bank account:

The payment process for brazilians working abroad as Legal Persons
The payment process for brazilians working abroad as Legal Persons

As you can see, the process is simple. The company pays you and you, as a good citizen, pay your fees and declare your taxes. The problem is the middleman, yeah the Payment Gateway, and I'm going to dive into some of them for you guys to know their issues and why, after two years, I decided to move out from one to another.

Here is the list of Payment Gateways I know, and some of them I used.

This is not an advertise! I am not recommending any of those services, I do not receive money from any of them. I am explaining the differences between each one and why did I chose one of them. This section intend to help people avoid bureaucracy and huge fees in global payment services.

Wise (or Transferwise as it was named)

Wise has a good UI, it's simple and nice to use, and receiving from them was just awesome. You can track your transfers and they show you the precise day in which you're going to receive your money. Also, as a bonus you won't pay any fee when receiving your money from a Wise account to your own Wise account.

I just found a single issue using their service. They do not transfer for Companies located in Brazil yet. This means that if you work as a Company (PJ in Brazil) you won't be able to register your Company's bank account and you'll need to receive in your personal bank account, declare the taxes after receiving your money, etc, etc, etc... That's why I moved out from them.

Remessa Online

This one I didn't use, but some friends of mine related issues with them in which concerns to the referral of the payment. Here's what happened. This friend of mine requested a payment using Remessa Online but the payer (which was his CEO), sent a transaction from his account according to the invoice. Unfortunately Remessa Online didn't accepted because the transaction wasn't made in the name of the company and because of that they held the payment. In addition to that he reported other issues like lack of explanations about the pending payment, he needed to get in touch many times with them to get known about the situation and after this he paid USD 70,00 to retrieve the money and try to do a new transaction. Because of that I didn't even try Remessa Online.

B&T

I didn't use B&T, instead of this I waited for my friend that was using it to understand how they work what were their fees. He described B&T to me as a decent way of global payment, he only faced one issue with them until today and he's already using their service for over 6 months.

B&T process is very close to the BTG Pactual process but their fee (at least the fee that they're charging this friend of mine) is higher than the fee I am paying for BTG Pactual.

This friend of mine faced a crucial issue (in my personal opinion) in which concerns to customer care. In his first attempt to receive money abroad his payment got lost in "between" (a layer in front of the company that pays you and your global payments account). Because of that he didn't receive the money during three days and he was asking their support without response, they kept saying "your money will reach your account..." but for someone who needs to pay monthly bills this is not enough, right? He kept trying until they found out where was the his payment. Fortunately he could find it well.

The B&T fee is very close to the BTG Pactual fee. They're charging an amount of 1% (of the total value) + R$90,00 in each transaction. If you fix the dollar to real rate at X and try to calculate this for a year you would end up with this equation: TOTAL FEE = X * (0,01 * YEARLY SALARY) + 1080 so you can calculate based in your expectations for salary.

Payoneer

Oh boy... where do I begin? Payoneer is widely used abroad, but for brazilians it can (in fact, it is) be a nightmare. I used their payment service for two years and now I look back and think why I didn't move out from them before... This is the Payoneer flow for brazilians:

Payoneer flow
Payoneer flow

You're not crazy, this is their flow for paying us. If you receive in dollars from a company abroad they bite 1% in taxes just for the money to reach your Payoneer account. After that they send your money to Banco Rendimento which is some sort of middleware between you and them (and they never mention that, you will know about Banco Rendimento when something already went really bad). Then, Banco Rendimento bites 2% of the total amount and sends the rest to your local bank account.

Now let's do some math here. First of all, let's fix the Dollar X Real value to USD 1 : R$ 5,00 and let's suppose you make USD 22,000.00 dollars a year, as a Software Engineer working for a company abroad. Using the Payoneer service will cost you USD 220 (1%) plus USD 435.6 (2%), the total is something about 2.97% of the total amount you receive in a year. At first you may say "well, USD 655.6 is not too much in a year..." but than convert it to Reais and you'll face a R$ 3,278.00 shot.

If the taxes were high but their service were good and fast, we would end up without issues, but this is not the case, I have many bad experiences with their payment service and will share some of them with you dear reader. Last year (2020), by no reason, the brazilian government decided to do some checks in a random selected group that were working abroad (and they do this every year, it's easier to get into this group than to win the Mega Sena), guess who joined this group? Yeah, me! But there's no problem right? This should be something really quick to solve. It took almost a month. Surprised? I was not. The problem is that they ask you a list of documents, you send them the documents, they have three business days to answer you requesting more documents or approving your transaction. AND HERE'S THE PROBLEM, THEY NEVER ASK FOR ALL THE DOCUMENTS AT ONCE. They kept sending me emails, and I kept sending them the documents they were asking for. When I first ran into a similar situation in 2019, my bills were about to explode, I got in touch with their support team and they said me this "... Well sir, you must be prepared for situations like this, usually is a good idea to have money in your personal account because we need to do those validations once in a while...". This is how Payoneer treat their customers.

By the beginning of 2021 I was already pissed of with them and decided to change my Payment Gateway, so I moved on for BTG Pactual and they have some interesting features for people who like to invest their money.

BTG Pactual

BTG Pactual it's a global bank in which you can create multiple bank accounts managed by your single user. Now I have two accounts registered there, one for myself as a Fisical Person and another for the company that represents me as a Legal Person. Both of these accounts are only for investing but I can receive money through them. So their process is simple, but I did some changes to mine, I'll show it all:

As you can see it's the same flow I described in the general case. Well, what happens here is the following, they use SWIFT codes to transfer your money and all the transactions I did came in no more than 10 minutes, but your money keeps the original coin. I mean, your money will still in USD until you request an exchange and this exchange can take up to three business days, but don't worry because the scenario here is completely different. First of all, BTG will hold your payment and ask you for your invoice, after that they're going to do the exchange for you.

Now here's something interesting, as BTG is an old global bank agency they have many services that come very in handy for us Developers, Designers, Directors, people from tech in general. One of the services they provide indirectly is the investment in stock. And this is why I decided to put an end to Payoneer's service and search for different services. How does it works? Well, basically I am not a BTG Pactual usual customer, I use their service through an Agency called Amur Capital. This agency resolves all the relation between me and BTG and they charge nothing for that, don't believe it? Go ahead and get in touch with them, you'll be surprised. The thing is that they receive money from BTG itself according to the number of money they have in their wallet, which means that if you invest through them, BTG will pay them because they're going to use BTG services all the time, and they're going to use your own money for that. But no worries, do you know when you "rent" your money to the government and they pay you in return? That's almost the same with some neat differences because they use to invest in multiple market and also in variable income.

About the fees you pay. They charge you 1.5% of the transaction plus R$90.00 so using the same example value as in the Payoneer's case, we would end up with a total fee of (22,000.00 * 1.5%) + R$90.00 but here's a secret: you can negotiate this fee!! So instead of just accepting it try to negotiate it with Amur and they'll give their best to reduce this fee for you.

This is how I made my life easier, now I don't need to worry about lazy payments nor investment, I just receive the money, pay my bills and send it back to my FP account in BTG, then my assessor (from Amur) get in touch with me to authorize him to invest my money and it's all fine. BTW they can't do nothing without my authorization there.

The different timezones issue

Now you're working in a company that have 30 employees, all distributed world abroad, 5 of them are in the timezone -05:00, 5 of them in the +03:00 and so on... This is a big issue for Directors to solve, specially if people from timezones with a bigger difference than 3 hours are working on the same project. Usually people come to an agreement when such situation arrives. Generally there's no strict rule for that, because we must keep our human part and try to be fair with all the teammates.

Async first! Be prepared to be answered late

When you're working for a company abroad, communication is a need. You must keep yourself up to date with your team, so if you don't like to chat, you don't like to read emails, you don't like to create reports, or anything related to document what you're doing I suggest you to re-think about working abroad in your career.

Be prepared for many calls, but seek for the lazy response, if you have something blocking what you're doing because of a teammate, try to do something in parallel while you're not answered. This will help you reach better results and also grow in your career, you'll always feel better if you have the notion that you delivered as much as you could.

I won't compare tools here to work as an async team. But here are some tools I really enjoy in my daily work basis:

  • Slack
  • Discord
  • Google Meet
  • Zoom

Conclusion

I hope this article can help you on finding your way when it comes to work abroad. I also want to thank you for your time reading this. And don't forget, any doubts you can come to me and ask me whatever you want about it. Here are the Linkedin and Telegram links again.