Portugal: Portuguese Golden Visa – Investment Route And The Non-Habitual Residents Regime
Portugal is being re-discovered as a destination to relocate to, with iconic cities such as Lisbon and Porto, and stunning coastal areas, for example, the Algarve. It also offers very easy access to the rest of Europe.
Portugal is increasingly recognised as an international hub with 71 Double Taxation Agreements and 49 Investment Protection Treaties.
The Golden Visa
The Portuguese Golden Visa is a very popular visa programme with almost 7,000 visas having been granted to main applicants since its inception in 2012 (up to the end of 2018).
There are a number of different criteria that can be met to fulfil Golden Visa obligations, including direct investment into property. An increasingly popular route is the investment fund option whereby individuals can gain a Golden Visa, by investing in a Portuguese Venture Capital Fund.
Key Facts: The Golden Visa Programme
The Portuguese Golden Visa allows individuals to qualify for a residency permit, to live in Portugal for up to five years and does not necessarily trigger Portuguese tax residency. The applicant and his/her family are free to travel within the Schengen area. The Golden Visa also allows investors to work in Portugal, if they choose to do so.
Investing in a Portuguese Venture Capital Fund – the Requirements
An investment of at least €350,000 must be made in a Venture Capital Fund with the objective of providing capital for companies. The capital must be injected for a minimum of five years and at least 60% of the investment must be made in commercial companies, with a head office in Portugal.
The benefits of investing through a Venture Capital Fund include:
- Withholding tax of 10%, on distribution of the income generated, if the investor is tax resident in Portugal.
- Exemption from withholding tax, on distribution of the income generated, if the investor is not tax resident in Portugal.
- Exemption from corporate income tax, when the fund is established and operating under Portuguese legislation.
- 10% tax on capital gains derived from the sale of participation units.
Non-habitual Residents Scheme (NHR)
Portugal also offers an attractive personal tax regime, the ‘NHR’ regime, to individuals who have not been tax resident in Portugal for the previous 5 years, but who wish to be tax resident in Portugal.
An individual can enjoy the NHR regime for 10 years, after which he/she will be taxed at the standard Portuguese tax rate.
The key advantage is a 20% tax rate (instead of taxation at progressive rates) for employment and/or self-employment income, sourced from Portugal.
Foreign source income (from self-employment, pension or passive income) is tax exempt, if the income is potentially taxed in the source country under the tax treaty with Portugal.