Definition of Tax Residency
Generally, a taxpayer is considered to be a tax resident in Portugal if he remains more than 183 days. This counting refers to any period of 12 months beginning or ending in the year in question.
One is also resident if he/she owns housing that supposes the intention to maintain it and to occupy it like a habitual residence.
In the event of a conflict in the definition of the tax residence, the taxpayer must take into account the criteria for its definition in the Double Taxation Agreement signed between Portugal and the country of residence.
Tax residency is important for the purposes of obtaining the Non-Habitual Status (NHR), as one must first be resident in order to apply for NHR status and one has until 31st March of the year following that of registration as a resident to obtain said status.
Consequently, for a taxpayer who is a tax resident in Portugal, the Personal Income Tax, IRS, will be levied on his or her worldwide income. The IRS tax rate can go up to 48%.
On the other hand if a taxpayer is not a tax resident in Portugal, the IRS tax is levied only on income obtained in Portugal, provided that they are not subject a withholding tax.
As such, a resident taxpayer in Portugal is required to file the IRS Form 3 reporting his/her worldwide.
A non-resident taxpayer will only have to file a declaration in the case of obtaining rental income Portuguese source.
Tax Residency and CRS
The Portuguese Tax Code requires all taxpayers who work and/or reside abroad to communicate the change of their tax address to the Tax and Customs Authority (“AT”) within 60 days.
However, a large part of expat communities abroad fail to do so. This leads them to incorrectly report their income earned in both countries.
This issue has become more “serious” if we take into account that banks now collect and report information on bank account balances held by non-resident (for tax purposes) clients to the tax authorities.
The opposite also happens: foreign banks will report the accounts held by taxpayers resident in their national territory to their respective tax authorities, who will then communicate this information to the tax authorities of the country of origin.
This exchange of information stems from the implementation of the Common Reporting Standards (“CRS”), created by the OECD and of which Portugal and 92 other countries are involved.
Among the 93 jurisdictions, offshores like the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Channel Islands are also included.
These commons reporting standards aim to combat tax evasion and money laundering and can have an impact on the tax residency status of thousands of expats.
CRSs can then risk expats’ income to be taxed in their country of origin and in their country of residence, if tax residence status are not up to date in all jurisdictions.
It is therefore extremely important that expats update their tax residence status with the competent tax authorities.
Our team at MCS, with more than 20 years of experience in the sector, is able to assist you pertaining taxation matters in Madeira and in Portgual. For more information our services click here.
Miguel Pinto-Correia holds a Master Degree in International Economics and European Studies from ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics & Management and a Bachelor Degree in Economics from Nova School of Business and Economics. He is a permanent member of the Order of the Economists (Ordem dos Economistas)… Read more