Thousands of tourist pools uncontrolled

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Inspections and audits of aquatic facilities in tourist resorts continue to be lacking more than a year after the latest legislation was passed. In question is Law 61/2017 of August 01 which exempted resorts from contracting lifeguards for their pools. According to this legislation, the presence of a lifeguard became optional, provided that permanent supervision was in place, secured by a duly identified technician with first aid training. According to the National Tourist Registry, there are currently 4,426 resorts registered in Portugal. “AL” units outnumber these registrations by almost 20 fold. Despite the disparity, the rules for tourist developments continue not to apply to Local Lodging Accommodations.

Tax dispute resolution to follow EU directive

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Settling cross-border tax conflicts within the European Union will follow new guidelines that entered into legislation as of 01 July as announced by the EU Commission. According to a recent  directive, taxpayers confronted with double tax disagreements within the EU that arise from differing interpretations of bilateral tax treaties can initiate a joint agreement procedure, leading countries to either settle the issues or accept a arbitration made by an independent advisory committee. The criteria applies to income or capital earned on or after 01 January 2018.

Airbnb contributes 1% to Portuguese national wealth

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3.4 million tourists who visited Portugal in 2018 were housed in Airbnb accommodations. The US company reports that these visits had an impact on the Portuguese national economy in the order of €2 billion, or the equivalent of 1% of GDP. On average, each of these visitors who booked via Airbnb spent €115 per day. Portugal is among the countries where Airbnb has the most significant economic impact, ranking 10th after the USA ($33,800,000), France ($10,800,000) and Spain ($6,900,000).

Airbnb promotes luxury

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The holiday let reservation platform has added “Airbnb Luxe” to its options. The new category makes available luxury accommodations and associated premium services, such as a route planner, chefs and masseurs. The Airbnb Luxe promises offerings to guests that are “the most extraordinary houses in the world”.

Non-habitual residents register 26% increase in 6 months

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Despite an inauspicious start in 2009, the “NHR” programme has gained relevance, attracting thousands EU “tax refugees” to Portugal. Since 2014, new applicants have increased by 1400%. Between September of 2018 and March of this year, the number of new non-habitual residents rose by over 26%. Brazilians recorded the most significant jump with a gain of 52%, surpassing the Swedes. Citizens who qualify for “NHR” status pay “IRS” at a flat rate of 20% when they are linked to high added-value activities in Portugal. However, this group of targeted professionals accounted for just 7% of total applicants. Most are pensioners, seeking a 10-year tax holiday on their retirement benefits. In 2017, new “NHR” retirees numbered almost 10,000.

EU triples tax haven blacklist

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The EU has broadened its blacklist of tax havens, adding 10 new jurisdictions; Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu and Dominica. They join Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and three U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands which were already listed. The European Commission created its blacklist in December 2017 after revelations of widespread tax evasion schemes (“Panama Papers”) used by corporations and high net worth individuals to reduce their tax liabilities. Listed jurisdictions face enhanced financial scrutiny but as yet no sanctions.

Closing your Local Lodging business

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There may be a variety reasons for you to discontinue an “AL” business: a) you need your place for yourself; b) the property may be up for sale; c) the bureaucracy may be too cumbersome for you; d) competition may have driven down prices and the activity is no longer profitable, e) other. Whatever the motive that you no longer wish to continue to let short-term furnished accommodations to holidaymakers, there are several steps that you will need to take to make the change: Continue reading

EU removes three countries from its tax haven blacklist

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Bermuda, Aruba, and Barbados have been on the EU’s embargoed list since March because of loopholes associated with money laundering schemes. Under the EU’s fair tax criteria, companies must have “economic substance”, not be just a “letterbox” entity set up to take advantage of low tax practices. The current EU blacklist has 12 countries. De-listed jurisdictions are placed on a halfway ‘grey list’ under close scrutiny but are no longer be subject to sanctions.

French “Great Debate” website attacks Portuguese “NHR”

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Opinions and proposals, shared on the “Great Debate” website (https://granddebat.fr/) – an initiative by French President Emmanuel Macron to respond to the protests of the “yellow vests” – refer to migrating French nationals who enjoy Portuguese Non-Habitual Residency (“NHR”) as “tax exiles” and to Portugal as “a fiscal eldorado” within Europe. Some participants contend that this double relief (tax exemption for pensions both at source in France and for 10 years in Portugal with “NHR” status) is intrinsically unjust, depriving both states of much-needed tax revenues and increasing the burden on paying taxpayers. The scheme is seen as promoting unfair tax competition among the Member States of the European Union.

“IMI” updates in 2020 but with little change for most owners

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Location coefficients will be updated this year. ASAVAL (Association of Professional Appraisers), the Association that represents real estate evaluators, recognises that the market has gained stability, but reminds the public that the coefficients have to continue to reflect the dynamics of the market. The last revision of the Location Coefficient occurred in 2015 and had an impact on tax assessments for 2016, 2017 and 2018.