Value-added tax (VAT)
There are three VAT rates: the standard rate of 23% (22% in the Autonomous Region of Madeira; 18% in the Autonomous Region of the Azores), the intermediate rate of 13% (12% in Madeira; 9% in the Azores), and the reduced rate of 6% (5% in Madeira; 4% in the Azores).
The intermediate rate applies to supplies of some foodstuffs and to pre-cooked meals, in ready-to-eat and take away or home delivery regimes, and to food and beverage services rendered, excluding alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, juices, nectars, and carbonated water, or added carbon dioxide or other substances.
The reduced rate applies to admissions to shows of singing, dancing, music, theatre, cinemas, circus, and bullfighting. The reduced rate is also applicable to the supplies of some basic foodstuffs, periodical publications, books (including e-books), pharmaceutical products, hotel accommodation, agricultural goods, and passenger transport.
Exports and intra-EU supplies of goods are zero-rated.
Supplies of goods
Supplies of goods are subject to VAT in Portugal if the goods are located in Portugal at the moment their transport or dispatch to the customer begins. If the goods are located in Portugal and there is no transport or dispatch, then supplies of the goods are subject to VAT at the moment they are put at the disposal of the customer.
Supplies of services
Supplies of services are subject to VAT in Portugal whenever: (i) acquired by taxable persons that have their business, a fixed establishment, domicile, or residence in Portugal to which the services are provided (B2B rule) or (ii) supplied to non-taxable persons if the provider has established its business, a fixed establishment, domicile, or residence in Portugal from where these services are provided (B2C rule).
Regardless of the place where the service provider and the acquirer are established, and of the acquirer being a taxable person, the supply of the following services is subject to VAT in Portugal if physically carried out in Portugal:
- Services connected with immovable property in Portugal.
- Passenger transport for the distances covered in Portugal.
- Admission to cultural, artistic, scientific, sporting, educational, entertainment, or similar events in Portugal.
- Restaurant and catering services in Portugal.
- Short-term hiring of a means of transport (up to 30 days, for boats up to 90 days) if the means of transport are put at the disposal of the customer in Portugal.
The supply of the following services is subject to VAT in Portugal if physically carried out in Portugal and if the acquirer is a non-taxable person:
- Transport of goods, other than intra-Community transport of goods, for the distances covered in Portugal.
- Intra-Community transport of goods if the place of departure is Portugal.
- Valuations of and work on movable property.
- Services and ancillary services relating to cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific, educational, entertainment, or similar activities, such as fairs and exhibitions, including the supply of services of the organisers.
- Hiring of a means of transport, other than short-term hiring, when the acquirer is established, has one’s permanent address, or usually resides in Portugal.
Telecommunications, broadcasting, television, and electronic services supplied to non-taxable persons are taxed in Portugal when the customer, a non-taxable person, is established, has one’s permanent address, or usually resides herein. However, such services shall be taxed at the place where the service provider is established, provided that:
- the total value of such services does not exceed EUR 10,000, with reference to the previous year
- the acquirer is not a VATable person, and
- the service provider has its head office, PE, or domicile only in that member state.
Customs duties are regulated by the Community Customs Code. Therefore, the rules foreseen for the import and export of goods in Portugal are similar to the rules applicable in other EU member states.
The customs duties' rates applied in Portugal vary according to the origin of the goods. There are several origin agreements that exempt from customs duties the importation of goods from certain countries or that determine reduced rates.
There are different types of excise duties, such as petroleum and energy products tax, alcohol and alcoholic beverages tax, tobacco tax, and vehicle tax.
The tax applicable to petroleum and energetic products depends on the goods supplied, and it varies for unleaded petrol between EUR 359 and EUR 650 per 1,000 kg.
Due to the Green Tax Reform, there is a CO2 adding factor to excise duties on petroleum and energetic products, which, in 2019, is 2.271654 for gasoline and 2.474862 for diesel. The adding factor is extensive to petroleum, coal, natural gas, coke, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and fuel oil.
The excise duty applies on the supply of natural gas when used for carbonate fuel final consumers at the rate of EUR 0.307/GJ and when used as propellant at the rate of EUR 1.15/GJ.
The tax applicable to alcohol and alcoholic beverages also depends on the type of good supplied, varying between EUR 8.34 per hectolitre for a certain type of beer and EUR 1,386.93 per hectolitre for spirits.
Non-alcoholic beverages with added sugar are also liable to excise duties, depending on the added sugar amounts:
- EUR 1/hl for drinks with a sugar content lower than 25 g/l.
- EUR 6/hl for drinks with a sugar content of at least 25 g/l and less than 50 g/l.
- EUR 8/hl for drinks with a sugar content of at least 50 g/l and less than 80 g/l.
- EUR 20/hl for drinks with a sugar content of 80 g/l or higher.
The tax applicable to tobacco (ad valorem) also varies in accordance with the type of product supplied, namely it varies between 15% of the sale price for cigarettes, 15% for fine-cut tobacco for rolling, 25% for cigars and cigarillos, and 50% of the sale price for tobacco used in a water pipe.
The tax applicable to vehicles varies in accordance with the type of vehicle, the fuel used, CO2 emissions, and the cylinder of the vehicle. The higher taxation is applicable for cars used for the transport of passengers using petrol as fuel and the lower taxation is applicable for motorcycles.
In what concerns the environment component, CO2 emissions have been measured based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) method. This method was replaced by the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), resulting in a general increase of the CO2 emissions and, as a consequence, of the taxes due. Aiming at mitigating this effect, a transitional provision to be applied in 2019 foresees a percentage reduction of the CO2 emissions, computed based on the WLTP.
An excise duty on consumption of electricity is due by producers, traders, self-producers, and consumers that buy electricity in organised markets. The tax applicable to electricity varies between EUR 1/kw to EUR 1.10/kw.
Property tax (Imposto Municipal sobre Imóveis or IMI)
IMI is a municipal property tax on the tax registration value (TRV) of urban and rural properties located in Portuguese territory. For urban properties, the TRV is determined by means of a valuation, based on the type of property, calculated by reference to a formula based on objective criteria, such as the construction cost per square metre, area, age, construction quality, and comfort indexes. IMI is owed by the real estate owner, the usufructuary, or the holder of the surface right of a real estate unit with reference to 31 December of the year that it concerns.
IMI is levied at the following rates, in addition to corporate or individual tax assessed on actual income generated by real estate:
|Real estate type||IMI (%)|
|Urban real estate||0.3 to 0.45|
|Rural real estate||0.8|
|Real estate owned by residents in a black-listed jurisdiction (except individuals)||7.5|
The list of countries, territories, and regions that provide a more favourable tax regime (‘black-listed jurisdictions’) is presented below:
|American Samoa||Dominica (1)||Marianas||San Marino|
|Andorra (1)||Falkland Islands or Malvinas||Marshall Islands||Seychelles|
|Anguilla (1)||Fiji Islands||Mauritius||Solomon Islands|
|Antigua and Barbuda (1)||French Polynesia||Monaco||Sultanate of Oman|
|Ascension Island||Gibraltar (1)||Nauru||Swaziland|
|Bahamas||Grenada||Netherlands Antilles||The Maldives|
|Barbados||Guyana||Norfolk Island||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Belize (1)||Honduras||Pacific Islands||Tristan da Cunha|
|Bermuda (1)||Hong Kong||Palau Islands||Turks and Caicos (1)|
|Bolivia||Isle of Man (1)||Panama||Tuvalu|
|British Virgin Islands (1)||Jamaica||Pitcairn Island||United Arab Emirates|
|Brunei||Jordan||Puerto Rico||United States Virgin Islands|
|Cayman Islands (1)||Kingdom of Tonga||Qatar||Uruguay|
|Channel Islands (1, 2)||Kiribati||Queshm Island||Vanuatu|
|Christmas Island||Kuwait||Saint Helena||Western Samoa|
|Cocos (Keeling)||Labuan||Saint Kitts and Nevis (1)||Yemen Arab Republic|
|Cook Islands||Lebanon||Saint Lucia (1)|
|Costa Rica||Liberia (1)||Saint Pierre and Miquelon|
|Djibouti||Liechtenstein||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
- The Portuguese authorities have signed tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) with these jurisdictions (in case of the Channel Islands, only with Guernsey and Jersey). The following TIEAs are in force: Andorra, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Jersey, and Saint Lucia.
- Alderney, Brechou, Great Sark, Guernsey, Herm, Jersey, Jethou, Lihou, and Little Sark.
Annual IMI rates are increased three times when urban real estate is in ruins or vacant for a period of over one year.
Municipalities can increase the IMI rate applicable to urban real estate properties which have been vacant for more than two years, to buildings in ruins and to land for construction intended for residential purposes, when located in designated areas of urban pressure.
In this situation, the IMI rate can be increased six times. An additional increase of 10% in each of the following years is also possible. However, it is capped at 12 times the applicable IMI rate.
IMI exemptions and reductions
Urban real estate subject to urban rehabilitation
There is an IMI exemption available to urban real estate subject to urban rehabilitation for a three-year period, renewable for an additional five-year period in case of buildings intended for leasing for permanent abode or main permanent abode.
This exemption is only available to buildings located in urban rehabilitation areas or buildings which have been built more than 30 years ago.
Historical stores, recognised by municipalities as establishments of historical, cultural, or social interest and that integrate the national inventory, will be IMI exempt for the year in which these situations occur.
Urban real estate intended for the production of energy from renewable sources
Urban real estate exclusively intended for the production of renewable energy, benefits from a 50% reduction of the IMI rate.
Other benefits of environmental status attributed to real estate
By resolution of the municipal assembly, municipalities may determine a reduction of up to 25% of the IMI rate, applicable to urban real estate with energy efficiency.
Tax incentives for forestry activity
An IMI exemption is applicable to rural real estate within forest areas covered by a forest intervention zone, and to rural real estate intended for forestry exploitation under a forest management plan.
Tax regime for investment promotion (RFAI)
Companies with investments that qualify for the RFAI, can benefit from an IMI reduction or exemption for a period of up to ten years, in relation to any real estate acquired and regarded as an eligible investment.
Additional to the IMI (AIMI)
AIMI is owed by individuals and corporations, as well as by structures or collective bodies without autonomous legal personality and undivided inheritances, that are owners, usufructuaries, or have the surface right of urban properties located in Portugal.
Urban properties classified as for ‘trade, industry, or services’ and ‘others’ are excluded from AIMI.
In the case of real estate financial leases, lessors are not allowed to charge AIMI on lease payments if the tax registration value of the property does not exceed EUR 600,000.
The taxable basis corresponds to the sum of the TRV of all the urban properties held by each taxpayer, reported as of 1 January of each year.
Properties that benefited from an IMI exemption in the previous year are excluded from the taxable basis.
The applicable rates are of 0.4% for entities and of 7.5% for urban properties owned by entities in tax havens.
AIMI is assessed by the Portuguese Tax Authority (PTA) in June of each year, with the respective payment being made in September.
Construction and housing cooperatives are no longer AIMI exempt when they own , have the right of surface, or the usufruct, exclusively, of properties intended for social housing or for (será rent controlled apartments).
On the other hand, the exclusion of taxation of properties that are exclusively intended for the construction of social housing or controlled-costs owned by construction and housing cooperatives or residents' associations is established.
The properties owned by construction and housing cooperatives, as well as residents' associations, will be excluded from taxation.
Taxpayers have the option to deduct the AIMI paid, limited to the fraction of the tax corresponding to the income generated by properties subject to AIMI, in the scope of lease or accommodation activities. This deduction option (deduction to the CIT fraction) jeopardises the deduction of AIMI in the determination of income subject to CIT.
Property transfer tax (Imposto Municipal sobre as Transmissões Onerosas de Imóveis or IMT)
IMT is a municipal tax levied on the transfer for consideration of real estate located in the Portuguese territory. The tax is owed by the acquirer at the rates shown below, and the taxable basis is the same, whether for IMI or for the price agreed upon by the contracting parties, whichever is higher. Note that the acquisition of more than 75% of the share capital of a limited liability company (Sociedade por quotas), which owns real estate located in Portugal, is also subject to IMT.
|Real estate type||IMT (%)|
|Rural real estate||5.0|
|Urban real estate (for residential purposes)||up to 6.0|
|Other urban real estate and other acquisitions for consideration||7.5|
|The acquirer is a tax resident in a black-listed jurisdiction (except individuals)||10.0|
- Acquisition of properties by real estate trading companies for resale.
- Acquisition of properties intended for urban rehabilitation.
- Acquisition of real estate by Real Estate Investment Funds for Residential Letting (REIFRLs).
- Restructuring operations or cooperation arrangements.
- Acquisition of buildings individually classified as of national/public/municipal interest.
- Exemption or reduction of the IMT rate, regarding the acquisition of property that constitutes eligible investment under the RFAI.
Stamp tax is payable on a wide variety of transactions and documents, at rates that may be set in specific amounts or on a percentage basis. Important examples include the following:
|Item||Stamp tax (%)|
|Loans (on the principal) (1):|
|With determined term, over one year||0.5 to 0.6|
|Current account/overdraft/credit with undetermined term or determined term under one year||0.04 per month or fraction|
|Undetermined/five or more years||0.6|
|Over one year||0.5|
|Under one year||0.04 per month or fraction|
|Operations of financial institutions:|
|Interest and commissions charged||4|
|Commission on banking guarantees||3|
|Commission for insurance brokers||2|
|Insurance premiums||3 to 9|
|Real estate transfer for consideration or donation||0.8|
|Letting or sub-letting (applied on the amount of a month of rent)||10|
|Donations and inheritances||10|
|Sale of business as a going concern||5|
|State’s social gambling, included in the bet price||4.5|
|State’s social gambling exceeding EUR 5,000||20|
|Collective Investment Vehicles (CIVs) investing in money market instruments and deposits (quarterly, on net asset value)||0.0025|
|Other CIVs (quarterly, on net asset value)||0.0125|
|Bills of exchange and promissory notes (with a minimum value of € 1)||0.5|
- In case of loans to consumers, tax rates are increased by approximately 90%.
Stamp tax exemptions
Some acts are exempt from stamp tax, such as the ones mentioned below (the exemption may depend on certain requirements):
- Guarantees on stock exchange dealings regarding securities and derivatives.
- Transactions between financial institutions, when directly related to lending/security operations.
- Short-term treasury needs (less than one year) when granted by any company to dominated companies or to companies in which they hold not less than 10% to companies in which they hold a participation, as well as granted by any company to companies dominated by them or with a shareholding with voting rights of at least 10% or with a purchase price of at least EUR 5 million, as well as to financing between companies in a dominant or group relationship. The exemption for short term treasury needs will only apply when the lender is a company.
- Loans not exceeding a one-year period, under a cash pooling contract, in case of companies in a control or group relationship (when a company, so-called dominant, holds, for more than one year, directly or indirectly, at least 75% of the share capital of a so-called controlled company or companies, provided that such participation grants more than 50% of the voting rights).
- Short-term shareholders’ loans (less than one year) in case of direct shareholding of 10% or more, held for one year or more.
- Shareholders’ loans, including the respective interest, not reimbursed before one year, when provided by shareholders, of at least 10%, of the share capital and as long as the shareholding is maintained for a consecutive period of one year, or since the incorporation of the subsidiary, provided that, in this case, the participation has been maintained during that period.
- Interest on loans for permanent housing.
- Free transfer of property to spouse, or de facto spouse, descendants, and ascendants.
- Mergers or cooperation operations.
- Warranties provided in favour of the state in the management of its direct public debt, and in favour of the Institute for the Management of Social Security Capitalization Funds, in its own name or on behalf of the funds under its management, for the exclusive purpose of covering its exposure to credit risk.
- Warranties provided in favour of the state or social security institutions upon the payment of debt by instalments under enforcement procedures or relating to the recovery of tax and social security credits.
- Under the RFAI, companies are exempt from stamp tax on the acquisition of real estate property that constitutes relevant investment, according to the terms of this regime.
- Securities repos or similar rights exchanged in stock markets, as well as repo and fiduciary sales in guarantee, performed by financial institutions and intermediated by central counterparts, are also exempt from stamp tax.
- Report agreements traded in an exchange stock.
There are no payroll taxes other than social security contributions (see below).
Social security contributions
Employers are required to make monthly social security contributions at the standard rate of 23.75% on the monthly gross remuneration of their employees.
Social security contributions are deductible for CIT purposes.
Financial sector contribution
Portuguese headquartered credit institutions, Portuguese subsidiaries of foreign credit institutions, as well as branches in Portugal of foreign credit institutions, including EU residents, are subject to a financial sector contribution, applicable on a taxable base composed as follows:
- Base I: Liabilities less the amount of the deposits covered by deposit guarantee schemes, such as the Deposit Guarantee Fund, the Mutual Agricultural Credit Guarantee Fund, or other officially recognised deposit guarantee scheme under the EU Directives. For this purpose, liabilities are defined as the set of elements accounted for in the balance sheet representing liabilities towards third parties, irrespective of their form or nature (excluding, amongst others, items accounted for as equity, liabilities for defined benefit retirement plans, provisions, liabilities concerning the revaluation of financial derivatives).
- Base II: The notional amount of off-balance sheet financial derivatives, excluding hedging derivatives and back-to-back derivatives.
The financial sector contribution is applicable at a maximum of 0.11% on Base I and at 0.00030% on Base II.