Individuals coming to Portugal and here becoming residents for the first time, can be entitled to some important tax benefits under the “non habitual resident rules”. These rules are an important contribution for making Portugal one of the most attractive destinations for retired individuals, but also for entrepreneurs.
Who can benefit?
A non habitual resident is an individual becoming resident for tax purposes in Portugal for the first time in the last five years period. To become resident for tax purposes, one should be in Portugal for more than 183 days in any 12 months period or for a shorter period but in such conditions that the intention of becoming resident is sufficiently clear. After becoming resident for tax purposes and register as such before the Tax Authorities, the individual must register as a non habitual resident to be able to benefit from this regime.
High Value Added Activities.
Some of the benefits under the non habitual resident rules are only applicable to income arising from high value added activities. These activities include architects, engineers, artists, auditors and tax consultants, medical professions, university teachers, top managers and other liberal professionals in areas such as informatics (software and hardware) development and consultancy, science investigation and design.
For how long?
The benefits arising from the non habitual resident status are valid for a ten year period and depend on the individual remaining as resident in Portugal for tax purposes. If, for any reason, the individual ceases to be resident, he can later benefit from the remaining period by becoming resident again.
What are the benefits?
Individuals becoming non habitual resident benefit from a more favorable tax treatment regarding both income from Portuguese source and income from foreign sources.
As to the income from Portuguese source arising from employment and self-employment, it is subject to a special tax of 20%. This benefit is only applicable to non habitual residents earning income from high value added activities.
As to the income from foreign sources arising from employment and pensions, it is exempted from taxes in Portugal, in most cases. This exemption also includes income arising from self-employment in high value added activities, and from intellectual and industrial property, capital and real estate gains.