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Changes to the Madeira International Shipping Register

The legal regime of the Madeira International Shipping Registry of Madeira (RIN-MAR or MAR)  has just been revised, through Law 56/2020 of 27 August.

The changes to RIN-MAR’s legal regime are so relevant in reinforcing its attractiveness and competitiveness, that  it  will  catapult the Registry to a top position in the context of similar maritime registries  in Europe and the world.

Registry Digitalization

The digitalization of the registry was implemented, providing for the possibility of registration applications being submitted (i) in person, (ii) on line  or even (iii) by mail (which was not permitted so far). The law also establishes the possibility of registrations being submitted to Portuguese consular representations or even, and in duly justified cases, registrations may be requested on weekends and holidays, provided that this intention is communicated to the commercial register 48 hours in advance.

A topic that always raised  legal and practical hitches now sees its resolution enshrined: Should at the moment of definitive registration of a ship,  the deletion certificate of the previous registry, in original form,  is still not available , the final registration can now be carried out on the basis of a written declaration issued by the outgoing registration authority, sent to the  Madeira Commercial Registry, provided that it attests to the cancellation of the previous registration, the name of the last registered owner  and also the inexistence of charges on the vessel.

It should be noted that all documentation, original or certified copy, that certifies the facts subject to registration can be delivered to any post or consular section of Portugal abroad including honorary consulates, which are obliged to send the documentation to the said  Registry within 15 days and  also to notify it that it is  in possession of these documents.

Maritime Mortgages

The most significant changes and improvements of the revised law are related to maritime mortgages

Responding to a longstanding claim of the financing community, the exceptional regime now enshrined allows, in case of non-compliance with the obligations guaranteed by the mortgage,  the mortgagee’s right to dispose of the ship as long as no higher grade mortgage is levied on it  and the express determination of the latter’s obligations in exercising the right of disposal over the ship.

The right of disposal gives the mortgagee the powers to apprehend, navigate and dispose of the ship. The sale, with the consequent transfer of ownership over the ship, can only take place once the ship has been evaluated according to the method and criteria established in the mortgage contract or, failing that, according to the criteria defined by an independent third party based on commercially reasonable criteria.

In the mortgage contract, the parties may agree, that the sale or encumbrance of the ship is dependent on the prior consent of the mortgagee, which is presumed to have been provided after the agreed term for such is expired.

The legislative change also clarified the amounts guaranteed by the mortgage in addition to the principal amount: credit accessories, ordinary and default interest, constitution and registration expenses, as well as penal clauses contractually agreed upon.

It should be noted that pleasure crafts registered or to be registered with MAR are excluded from this regime.

Registration Deadlines

In another context and regarding deadlines, the possibility of provisional registration is also safeguarded with an extended period (maximum period of 90 days)  being given for the delivery of missing documents and promotion of the definitive registration, without which the registration expires. It is also given to the interested party the right to extend the term for an additional 60 days period, provided that proof is offered to MAR of the just impediment of the delivery of the missing documentation.

Bareboat Registration

As for the temporary registration of vessels in MAR (bareboat registration), the requirement for authorization by mortgagees, if any, is now expressly provided for, allowing for  greater legal certainty to interested parties. In this context, it is determined that this registration modality will be titled through a Temporary Registration certificate containing important elements about said registry.

Ship Books

Finally, the rules on the models of the ships’ books and logbooks  have been relaxed. The possibility of using other models of books and logbooks other than those indicated by Portuguese law is enshrined, provided that they include all the elements relevant to their purpose and comply with the applicable international requirements.

The international community of the sector will certainly be attentive to these changes and will see in RIN-MAR a first line maritime registry  in the options to consider, taking into account the prestige, quality and security conferred by the Registry to the various stakeholders.

auctor Rosana Rodrigues & Lília Caldeira

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Criptomoedas e Benefícios Fiscais

A evolução da moeda tem se elevado a um patamar completamente digital, podendo atualmente não ter representação física, estando apenas numa conta bancária sob a forma de registo informático, consistindo num valor monetário registado, por exemplo no seu smartphone.

A criptomoeda nada mais é que códigos digitais as quais lhes são atribuídos determinados valores controlados por um sistema de dados, onde se guardam os registos de transações permanente, protegendo a criptomoeda de ser falsificada ou roubada.

Em termos gerais, e segundo uma definição do banco Central Europeu, as criptomoedas, são um tipo de dinheiro digital, ainda não regulamentado, nem vinculado a qualquer banco central.

A Bitcoin é a criptomoeda que mais valorizou nos últimos anos, atualmente valendo mais que o ouro. De facto, as criptomoedas como a bitcoin têm vindo a ganhar relevo no plano financeiro internacional, tanto como investimento, como para proteção de ativos financeiros. Onde alguns podem ver incerteza, os mais temerários encaram como uma oportunidade certa de capitalizar.

Apesar da autoridade tributária e aduaneira, já se ter pronunciado a respeito, através de uma informação vinculativa, esta não concretiza que as criptomoedas devam ser tributadas como ativo financeiro.

No entanto, a administração tributária considera que os sujeitos passivos que tenham atividade profissional aberta para transacionar criptomoedas, devem ser sujeitos a tributação sobre rendimentos empresariais ou profissionais (cat. B).

A administração tributária abre também a hipótese, a que os rendimentos obtidos através das criptomoedas possa ser considerados um incremento patrimonial, e seja tido como uma mais valia.

A questão que importa salientar é que independentemente de ser considerado, ou não, qualquer uma das opções, para sujeitos passivos que exerçam qualquer atividade relacionada com as criptomoedas, num outro país, esses rendimentos desde que gerados fora de Portugal, estão isentos de tributação ao abrigo do regime do residente não habitual por um período de dez anos após a concessão do estatuto.

Numa outra informação vinculativa, mais recente, proferida pela administração tributária relativo à temática das criptomoedas, versando não sobre IRS, mas sim sobre IVA, veiculou-se o entendimento já assumindo pelo Tribunal de Justiça da União Europeia, o qual já esclareceu que “a bitcoin, tal como as divisas tradicionais que têm valor liberatório, não tem outra finalidade que não servir como meio de pagamento”. Isto significa que tratando-se de meios de pagamento cuja função se esgota em si mesmo, a sua simples transferência não constituir um facto gerador do IVA”.

Pese embora a temática da tributação das criptomoedas continue a ser uma matéria controvertida, e que a falta de regulamentação em Portugal relativamente a operações e transações das criptomoedas, tenha as duas faces da vantagem e da incerteza, a verdade é que Portugal acaba por se tornar atrativo para as pessoas que queiram investir nas criptomoedas, caso se equacione a possibilidade de se realocarem para Portugal e usufruírem do regime do Residente Não Habitual.

Sendo uma atividade de exercício completamente remoto, faz cada vez mais sentido olharmos para este tipo de investimento e congregarmos o mesmo a um regime de Residente Não Habitual, onde os eventuais ganhos com as criptomoedas, quer sejam dividendos, rendimento de uma atividade profissional, ou mais valias de um incremento patrimonial, estariam isentos de tributação durante dez anos ao abrigo daquele regime.

Além do beneficio de residir num dos mais bonitos e seguros países do mundo, com fantástico clima, e com excelentes condições de vida, muitos daqueles que criaram as suas estruturas no estrangeiro para investir nas criptomoedas, poderiam assegurar a não taxação dos seus ganhos durante um período de dez anos.

auctores Pedro Marrana & Vitor Abreu

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NHR and Cryptocurrencies

The evolution of the currency has been raised to a completely digital level, and it may currently have no physical representation, being only in a bank account in the form of a computer record, consisting of a monetary value registered, for example on your smartphone.

Crypto-currency is nothing more than digital codes which are assigned certain values controlled by a data system, where records of transactions are kept permanently, protecting crypto-currency from being falsified or stolen.

In general terms, and according to the European Central Bank’s definition, crypto-currency is a type of digital money, not yet regulated, nor linked to any central bank.

Bitcoin is the crypto-currency that has been most valued in recent years, currently it is worth more than gold. In fact, crypto-currencies like Bitcoin have been gaining importance in the international financial sector, both as an investment and for the protection of financial assets. Where some may see uncertainty, the risk-takers see it as an opportunity.

Although the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority (AT) has already pronounced itself on the matter, through binding information, it does not materialize that crypto-currencies should be taxed as financial assets.

However, the AT considers that taxpayers who have registered as free-lancers to transact crypto-currencies should be subject to taxation on business or professional income (category B type of income). The AT also opens the hypothesis that the income obtained through the crypto-currencies can be considered an asset increase, and be considered a capital gain.

Regardless of whether or not any of the options are considered, for taxpayers carrying out any activity related to crypto-currencies, in another country, such income, provided it is generated outside Portugal, is exempt from taxation under the non-habitual resident regime for a period of ten years after the status is granted.

In another, more recent, binding information issued by the tax authorities on the issue of crypto-currencies, dealing not with personal income tax but with VAT, following the European Union Court of Justice’s jurisprudence which consideres “bitcoin, like traditional currencies which have a discharging value, has no other purpose than to serve as a means of payment”. This means that “since they are means of payment whose function is in itself exhausted, their mere transfer does not constitute a chargeable event for VAT”.

Although the issue of taxation of crypto-currencies continues to be a controversial one, and the lack of regulation in Portugal regarding operations and transactions of crypto-currencies has both sides of the advantage and of the uncertainty, the truth is that Portugal ends up becoming attractive for people who want to invest in crypto-currencies, if one considers the possibility of relocating to Portugal and taking advantage of the regime of the Non-habitual Resident.

Being a completely remote activity, it makes more and more sense to look at this type of investment and to congregate it to the regime of the Non-habitual Resident, where the eventual gains with the crypto-currencies, whether they are dividends, income from a professional activity, or capital gains from an asset increase, would be exempt from taxation for ten years under that regime.

Besides the benefit of living in one of the most beautiful and safe countries in the world, with a fantastic climate, and with excellent living conditions, many of those who created their structures abroad to invest in crypto-currencies, could ensure the non-taxation of their earnings for a period of ten years.

auctores Pedro Marrana & Vitor Abreu

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MCS participates in Madeira’s Recovery Plan

We welcome the initiative of the Regional Government to consult, within the scope of its economic diplomacy agency (Invest Madeira), those responsible for the overwhelming majority of foreign investment in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, the management companies operating within the scope of the International Business Center of Madeira (CINM), such is the case of Madeira Corporate Services (MCS).

We at MCS have accepted the challenge of the Regional Government to participate in the drafting Madeira’s Recovery Plan. This plan is to be presented by the Madeira’s Regional Government as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic economic shock, aiming at relaunching the Madeiran economy and improving its international competitiveness.

Having received input from our stakeholders, our Director for Strategic Development and economist, Mr. Miguel Pinto-Correia, has been entrusted to prepare a letter with suggestions to be taken into account by the Regional Department of Economy when drafting Madeira’s Recovery Plan.

Mr. Pinto-Correia is focusing MCS’s proposals for Madeira’s Recovery Plan on 3 main pillars: lower corporate and personal taxation for international investors and local business, reduction of bureaucracy and development of the Blue Economy and IT sectors.

MCS and its team are committed to promoting Madeira’s international economic competitiveness, and therefore its clients interests, by working closely with regional, national and European stakeholders.

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