In November of 2019, total investments from Residence Permits for Investment Activities (ARI) tallied €37 million, a decrease of 52% over the same month of 2018 (€77.1 million). Comparing to October, when new investments totalled €60 million, the decline was 38%. In November, 64 Golden Visas were issued, of which 61 were for property purchases and three for capital transfer. In the first 11 months of 2019, investments have totalled €698 million, down 6% from the same period a year earlier. By nationality, China continued to lead in the number of Golden Visas issued, followed by Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Russia.
In 2018, births in Portugal stood at 87,000 while citizenship concessions rose to nearly 128,000. To date, 2019 statistics continue to reflect the same proportion: net growth in Portuguese citizenship continues to be due largely to the naturalisation of foreign residents.
The value of tax benefits to non-habitual residents keeps growing according to the “Tribunal de Contas” (National Audit Office). In 2018, there were €548 million in NHR exemptions granted to foreign pensioners. Nevertheless, this apparent tax giveaway would have never existed if the NHR regime had not attracted these foreigners to Portugal in the first place. For example, these pensioners paid almost €80 million to the state in Individual Income Tax (“IRS “) on non-exempt income. In addition, there are IMT, IMI and VAT levies which the Government collects above and beyond the scope of the Non-Habitual Residency scheme.
In all, Brexit is set to cancel eight million tourists travelling in 2021. In Spain alone, there should be 1.3 million fewer UK nationals travelling according to projections of the European Travel Commission. Without a Brexit agreement, British travel should fall by 7% by 2020 and 8% the following year.
Only Greece and Latvia have more advantageous Golden Visa schemes than Portugal, requiring an investment of just €250,000 for foreigners wishing to settle in their territories. Portugal has maintained the €500,000 threshold since the creation of the programme in 2012, which is technically referred to as “The Residence Permit for Investment Activity”.
The directive on sharing tax information of multinational corporations has been stalled for the last two years in the European Council. Portugal forms part of a group of member states holding up passage of this EU ruling. The stance contradicts what the government defends in its political programme. The position also contradicts the voting record of Portuguese socialist representatives.
Local Lodging is on the decline across the country with new registrations dropping by 43% when compared to the same period last year. According to data from the Local Lodging National Register, the sharpest drop occurred in Lisbon, which fell by 73%. Porto also saw the opening of new AL establishments down by almost 50%. ALEP, the Local Lodging Association of Portugal, attributes this accentuated contraction with the overall shift from a “niche activity” to a “mature enterprise”. Local Lodging represents 40% of the total overnight tourist stays in Portugal.
If one partner becomes a civil resident in Portugal, the other partner, as a third-country national, is also eligible for Portuguese civil residency under the statute of “family reunification”, even if they are not married but have been cohabiting at the same address for more than two years.
Cohabiting couples enjoy many of the same rights as formally married spouses when, regardless of their sex, they live together in conditions similar to those of the married mates for more than two years (according to Law nº 23/2010, of August 30, which amended Law nº 7/2001, of May 11). Continue reading
In the first six months of 2019, new lease agreements were 9.2% more expensive as compared to the same period last year. The price per square metre went from €4.80 to €5.00 in the first semester. At the same time, fewer families were able to find long-term rental accommodation. Data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) reveal that the number of new contracts fell by 10.5%.
Portugal has 930 taxpayers with high income (>€5m) and wealth (>€25m). In 2017, the tax authorities (“AT”) could detect only 309 of these high net worth individuals who accounted for very little of the taxes collected (0.5%). The others remained undetected and paid nothing.