The Government is studying incentives for migrating short-term local lodging to affordable long-term leases. It is not yet known how the Government plans to accomplish this objective. It may become possible to change the fiscal regime that requires the payment of capital gains when the property is no longer assigned to a professional activity and returns to the sphere of the owner.
The Stability Program for 2019-23 anticipates €31 million in additional tax revenues from the new maximum tax bracket for AIMI, applicable to Ratable Values (“VPT”) above €2 million. The Additional to Municipal Property Tax was first created in 2017 targeting luxury properties. Beyond the standard “IMI” assessment, Companies are charged AIMI at a rate of 0.4% on the sum of the Rateable Values of these properties. Residences held by entities in tax havens pay 7.5%. In the case of individual ownership, an AIMI rate of 0.7% is applied on “VPT” totals above €600,000 (or double this amount for married and cohabiting couples who opt for joint “IRS” declarations). When the “VPT” values exceed €1 million, the tax rate increases to 1%. The new bracket, created in the recent State Budget to be applied for the first time in 2019, foresees an AIMI tax rate of 1.5%, applicable to “VPT” amounts above €2 million.
The ink is barely dry on changes to the Local Lodging regime and the ruling Socialist Party is moving forward with proposed amendments in the next year’s State Budget. According to the contemplated update, Local Lodging units should have a minimum coverage of €75,000 a year per claim. The recently approved legislation is vague concerning the amount of liability insurance required.
Returning ex-residents will benefit from a 50% exclusion on earnings from salaried employment (Category A) and business and professional income (Category B). Only half of the income will be taxed under the proposed changes in IRS rules. According to the State Budget Proposal for 2019, this regime will apply for five years from the year in which the citizen meets the eligibility conditions. Any entity responsible for withholding income earned by returning former residents will be subject to a withholding tax on half of the attributed income, thus ensuring full application of the tax break.
One of the flagship measures of the upcoming 2019 State Budget is intended to encourage emigrants to return to Portugal by granting a 50% discount on their “IRS” over the following 3 to 5 years. In addition, the proposal allows for deductions of associated expenses, such as the cost of the return trip and housing expenses. As part of a package of incentives targeting the relocation of young professionals back to Portugal, the proposal will embrace all those who left the country by 2015 and returning in 2019 or 2020.
A new study by HomeAway reveals why Portuguese nationals prefer using Local Lodging for their vacations. For 79.5% of the respondents, choosing an “AL” accommodation is based on the possibility to prepare meals, thus making significant savings in the overall holiday budget. 70.2% of respondents prefer the scheduling flexibility and the ability to plan their vacation days without rigid time restrictions. In turn, 65% indicate that they can enjoy more space for leisure activities. 51.5% of holidaymakers appreciate the privacy and tranquillity (as compared to 37.2% in hotels).
Diverse and sometimes contradictory recommendations are currently under discussion to modify underlying rules governing Local Lodging. In last year’s budget, numerous changes came into effect regarding the taxation of Local Lodging income. In IRC, “AL” income under the Corporate Simplified Regime lost its reduced 0.04 coefficient, rising to 0.35. In IRS, the changes moved in the same direction: under the Simplified Regime for Independent workers, the 0.35 coefficient also applies. Apartments and villas let under in Local Lodging registrations were excluded from the 0.15 coefficient still available to room lets, hostels and holiday offerings registered under the “Tourist Development” classification.
The State Budget for 2018 introduces important revisions to the Simplified Regime. The Secretary of State for Fiscal Affairs, António Mendonça Mendes, declared that the measures “do not impact” taxpayers on low and middle incomes. At the same time, the changes “do not allow wealthier service providers to manipulate the existing system to simplify, rather than lower taxes”. “Who truly must justify expenses are those who, earning more than €100,000, have chosen not to apply standard accounting”.
Government is studying a basic levy to Non-Habitual Resident pensions with possible introduction in the 2018 State Budget. According to the Jornal de Negócios, the step under consideration is applying a potential tax rate of 5-10%. Currently, NHR beneficiaries enjoy a 10-year tax holiday. The contemplated measure is said to be in the name of “good fiscal relations” with other European countries.
One of the tax incentives in the 2017 Budget encourages the purchase of electric cars with a subsidy of €2,250. Attributed by the Environmental Fund (“Fundo Ambiental”), this money is intended to help the first electric car buyers. The first 1,000 people to present proof of purchase of an electric car will receive a cheque for €2,250 euros.