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.
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
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 Highly Qualified Professional Visa in Portugal targets foreigners who are not nationals of the EU, EEA and Switzerland and who have been admitted 1) as students to higher education (principally at doctorate level), or 2) as researchers to collaborate in research recognized by the Ministry of Education and Science, or 3) as a University professor.
Estimates surpass a total of 27,000 foreign taxpayers in Portugal currently enrolled in the NHR programme. The latest developments come from Sweden, looking to broach negotiations of its tax treaty with Portugal. This initiative follows on the heels of Finland’s threat to tear up its tax accord with Portugal if the Portuguese legislature fails to ratify a newly negotiated settlement by the end of November. With changes validated, new rules could apply to Finnish residents in Portugal as of 2022.
The Golden Visa Programme is a simple, alluring residency scheme aimed at attracting investors from around the world to Portugal. The qualifying conditions for the concession of Residency Permits of Investment Activity have been expanded, creating new opportunities. The recently passed up-dates take effect on 26 November and are part of a transposition of three EU directives, introducing new schemes for a) seasonal workers, b) transfer of migrant workers within a company or group, as well as c) a regime for the entry and stay of students, researchers, volunteers and trainees. Continue reading
Between October 2012 and May 2017, the total investments raised by the Investment Activity Residency programme reached € 3.1 billion. Of this amount, €2.8 billion (90%) was secured through real estate purchases. During the period, China leads the list of Golden Visas awarded with 3,411 as of May this year, followed by Brazil (411), South Africa (189), Russia (174) and Lebanon (100).