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.
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.