New Jurisdiction: Brazil (9 million companies)

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We’re proud to announce the addition of Brazil to OpenCorporates’ ever growing list of jurisdictions, adding a little over 9 million companies.

We’re really excited by this data – it was back in 2012 that our CEO first met the Brazilian government to argue for the publication of the company register as open data. Back then, the arguments were not well received, at least by the ministry in charge of the central register, even though others in government and the transparency community there were supportive. However, since then, transparency activists, and anti-corruption activists, both in and outside government, have continued to make the case, with the result that the basic company data is now available as open data.

The data that’s been published is the Receita Federal Cadastro Nacional da Pessoa Jurídica (National Register of Legal Entities, also known as CNPJ), maintained by the Department of Federal Revenue of Brazil. Although only a limited set of data is being published (see below), we’re delighted that it has been published as open data, under a permissive CC-BY license. Unfortunately data is currently only updated every six months – the current files were published in January 2018 – and we will be pushing for it to be published at least monthly.

Registering a company with Receita Federal to obtain a CNPJ identifier is one of the required registration steps, before state-level registration with the Boards of Trade (Juntas Comerciais) to obtain a NIRE (Número de Identificação do Registro de Empresas) number, and municipal registration to obtain trade licences.

We chose the unique 14-digit CNPJ number as the ‘company number’ for two reasons:

  • Its widespread use to refer to companies in Brazil
  • The absence of country-wide availability of NIRE registration numbers, as not all of the state-level Boards of Trade have online company registers.

Data Attributes

Only a limited subset of fields available in CNPJ have been published as open data. For example, the data currently lacks incorporation/dissolution dates, and current status of a company, making it a challenge to differentiate currently active companies from those that have long been inactive.

The following fields have been mapped:

  • Company Number
  • Company Name
  • Officer Name / Position
  • Retrieved at – Date of export from the open data portal

Individual CNPJ numbers can be queried for these data attributes via this online form (Comprovante de Inscrição e de Situação Cadastral), which also displays address, incorporation dates, industry codes, legal form, etc, and we will encourage the tax authorities to publish these in the open data files in future.

Finally, many thanks to the transparency advocates in Brazil, both inside and outside government, who alerted us to the open data files, and helped us navigate the data.


Photo by mariordo59 on flickr

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