RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - The individual micro-entrepreneur (MEI) program completed its tenth year this month with 8.6 million small businesses registered, but with a long-standing problem: a high rate of default in paying taxes.

In May of this year, according to the latest available data, 54 percent of the micro-entrepreneurs were not in good standing with their tax obligations, according to the Federal Treasury.

MEI was created to encourage the low-cost incorporation of small businesses and self-employed workers such as salespeople, confectioners, manicurists, hairdressers, or electricians, among others. Businesses that invoice up to R . . .

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