In Brazil, there is specific legislation for national cooperative societies, which regulates cooperativism throughout the territory. Article 5, Item XVIII of the Federal Constitution of October 10 1988 provides for “the creation of associations and, in the form of the law, of cooperatives, which are independent of authorization, being prohibited state interference in their operation”. Article 146, subsection III, subparagraph (c) indicates that it will be incumbent upon the complementary law to establish general rules on tax legislation, especially on “adequate tax treatment of the cooperative act practiced by cooperative societies”, while Article 174 §2 defines that “the law will support and stimulate cooperativism and other forms of associativism”.
The current Brazilian legislation for cooperatives can be summarized stating that it has a "limited friendship with cooperatives". The need for updating is latent, due to the growth of cooperatives in the country, operating in public and private markets and in various economic and social activities.
Key recommendations for improvement
- Approval of Bill no. 519/2015, new General Law of Cooperatives, which democratizes and modernizes Brazilian cooperatives.
- Regulation or reformulation of the Work Cooperative Law.
- Regulation or reformulation of the Law of Social Cooperatives.
- Facilitate and foster the creation of credit unions.
- Creation of specific legislation on the Cooperative Tax Regime, with the proper tax treatment of the cooperative act practiced by cooperative societies and the establishment of a simplified accounting system with reduction of the tax burden for small cooperatives.
- Ensure that cooperative education is included at different levels of education.
Cooperativism in Brazil still has a vast field for growth, with the improvement of legislation and effective implementation of cooperative education in the education system, various sectors and market niches can be accessed or supplied by cooperatives.