Self-employed workers in the Simplified Regime can use the exceptional programme that permits the payment of VAT in the first half of 2021 to be deferred in three- or six-monthly instalments. The decree that provides for this exceptional and temporary plan is one of the measures that aims to ensure liquidity to small businesses faced with a drop-in activity and invoicing due to the restrictions imposed by the covid-19 pandemic.
Businesses in Portugal have prepared systems for non-resident UK nationals to participate in “tax free” purchases as of 01 January 2021. The plan allows for the recovery of VAT paid on eligible purchases when exiting Portugal. There is a minimum amount of €61.50 within an establishment to be entitled to “Tax Free” refunds. The tax is recoverable only on purchased products and not on services, such as hotels and restaurants.
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.
There are two types of Fiscal Representation in Portugal:
- – Fiscal Representation in Personal Income Tax (“IRS”)
- – Fiscal Representation in VAT
Appointing a Fiscal Representative
It is mandatory to appoint a Fiscal Representative whenever a third-country national who is not resident in Portugal has income arising in Portugal. Alternatively, although residing in the national territory, an individual is absent for a period exceeding six months and obtains income in Portugal subject to Portuguese taxation. For a non-resident to start the process of appointing a tax representative in Portugal, the taxpayers must have a Fiscal Number (“NIF”) and a password (“senha”) to be identified on the Finanças Portal. Continue reading
Following the automatic IRS, the “AT” advances to automate VAT in three phases.
The Tax and Customs Authority has taken the first step in automating the VAT declaration, making available pre-filling of certain amounts in the fields related to “transfers of goods and services” with tax paid and those corresponding to “Tax in favour of the State”. Continue reading
After the hubbub of the summer, many Local Lodging owners wish to book long-term rentals to assure low-season occupancy over the quieter winter months. As always, there are pros and cons, particularly when distinguishing between long and short term lets is not always easy.
Reporting Long-Term Rentals
Under current legislation, bureaucracy has mushroomed in recent years for long-term rentals:
- a) Registration of Rental Contract – Mandatory Rental Contracts must be reported via Modelo 2. This form identifies the parties, the property, the price and the terms of the agreement.
- b) Stamp Duty – Stamp Duty is due on the rental contract at the rate of 10% of one month’s income. Every time there is a change in the contract, Stamp Duty must be paid again so automatic renewals, if appropriate, should be included in the original contract to avoid repetitive payment of tax.
- c) On-going Electronic Rental Receipts – Similar to Electronic Green Receipts, Electronic Rent Receipts must be issued in Portuguese in duplicate on a monthly basis via the Finanças Copies are issued to the tenant with a second copy retained for the landlord’s records.
- d) Annual Rental income summary – In the following January, landlords must declare an annual summary of rents received via Model 44.
- e) “IRS” Declaration – An annual personal income tax declaration will necessitate completion of Annex F. All claimed deductible expenses must be accompanied by original invoices that include both the name of the landlord and the corresponding tax number.
- f) VAT – On the positive side, long-term rentals are VAT exempt and require no VAT reporting, potentially saving time and money.
As a tourist accommodation, a Local Lodging unit must: a) be a furnished and equipped facility, b) be available to the general public, c) meet specific health and safety standards and d) limit stays to less than 30 days.
However, there is nothing improper about a guest checking out after a month, then checking back in for another 30-day period. If this procedure is adopted, the owner can continue the “AL” operation on a year-round basis, avoiding the additional bureaucracy associated with Category F. In addition, the on-going use of the property under Local Lodging avoids the overlap and potential contradictions of property usage in two distinct business categories within the same fiscal year.
Beyond Stamp Duty and VAT, the income tax calculation for each activity is substantially different. In Portugal, rental income is taxed residentially under Category F (Income from Immoveable Property) while Local Lodging is assessed commercially under Category B (Business Income).
For a Local Lodging activity, most owners are assessed under the “Simplified Regime” where they receive a flat exemption of 65% on gross income. Residents then add the remaining 35% to other taxable forms of income and are assessed at marginal rates. Non-Residents have the standard levy of 25%, leaving a final tax to pay of 8.75% of gross business income.
Under Category F (long-term rentals), Non-Residents are taxed at a flat 25%. Residents may elect to be assessed autonomously at a flat 28% or aggregate this income with other sources and be taxed at marginal rates.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. Some owners will find rolling over a one-month winter “AL” let to be a straightforward solution. Others will be willing to endure the doubled-up bureaucracy of opening a new winter long-term lease as a solution that merits the extra time and effort. Faced with a difficult choice, professional guidance is always the order-of-the-day.
The “AT” (Tax Office) wants to assure that all entrepreneurs receive their correspondence in a secure and unquestionable manner. To this end. all Sole Traders registered for VAT are now obliged to have an electronic post box with www.viaCTT.pt. The viaCTT account must be activated within 30 days after VAT registration. The rule applies to sole traders once they have reached an income of over than 10.000€ in the preceding year. Fines for non-compliance go from €50 to €250.
Despite millions in tax concessions, the overall impact on tax revenues from Non-Habitual Residents has proven to be propitious for Portugal, due to total taxable income generated, such as capital gains, rates, VAT, etc. Simultaneously, there is also a significantly healthy impact on local economies arising from new construction, urban rehabilitation and real estate transactions.
The General Assembly approved legislation that reduces from 23% to 0% the VAT charged by professionals of non-conventional therapies (alternative medicines such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, naturopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, traditional Chinese medicine, etc.).
Not only will final consumers save directly with the exemption from VAT, these expenses will also qualify for medical tax credits in “IRS” reporting.