Roger and Kevin both make valid points. There is debate in Brazil as to how to categorise software, as a product or service. This complicates the already highly complex taxation situation in Brazil. However, to try and give you a short answer, software that is imported into Brazil on CDs would be subject to the usual taxes applicable to products: 19% import duty, IPI tax (around 8-11%), ICMS (varies from state to state but is 18% in Sao Paulo) and then the social security and integration contribution taxes PIS and COFINS (1.65% and 7.6%). The remittance of payments for software licensing incur a total of 25% income tax and CIDE (use of copyright tax).
Services exported to Brazil are subject to income tax of 15%, ISS service tax of 5% ( some municipalities reduce this to as little as 2%), PIS and COFINS, and CIDE (10%), which with the cascading system of taxation usually comes out at just under 50% total.
The figures above are a bit if a generalisation, and there are many other factors that may affect the final taxation figure, depending on the type of product, service and even the sector of activity.
payments can be used as credits by the customer when he is reselling a product or service as a package in Brazil.
I would advise anyone looking to sell services and software in Brazil to get expert advice on the taxation applicable to their specific product or service. You should always consider entering the Brazilian market with a local partner who has the knowledge and the set-up to be able to deal with the intricacies of this market.
Please get in touch with me in Sao Paulo if you want further information.