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.
The tax-holiday regime for Non-Habitual Residents (NHR), launched in 2009 to entice wealthy foreigners to participate to Portugal’s economic development in exchange for low or no taxation, reveals a very asymmetrical distribution between the two NHR target groups: “value-added” professionals and pensioners. Amongst the 27,367 beneficiaries of the NHR statute allowing for a partial or complete 10-year tax holiday in Portugal, there are only 2,140 “value-added” professionals (8%). Of these, almost half are senior executives of multinational companies. Continue reading