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April 13, 2020 - No Comments!

SOCIAL PROTECTION MEASURES IN SICKNESS AND PARENTHOOD

DECREE LAW 10- A/2020 OF 13TH MARCH

Following the pandemic declared situation, with serious risk to public health, the government adopted, among several other, measures to protect employees and self- employed workers in the general social security system.

In this context, the Government has decided to equate sickness with preventative isolation for the period of 14 days decreed by the health authorities and, this time, to ensure recognition of the right to sick benefit for these employees, corresponding to their entire pay.

In this case the grant is not subject to any waiting period.

These measures also protect employees who have to be absent in order to accompany, within 14 days, the prophylactic isolation of their children or dependents, such absences being considered justified. In the case of children under 12 years old or with a disability or chronic illness, employees are entitled to childcare allowance and grandchild care allowance, paid in an amount equivalent to 100% of their remuneration, with no required guarantee period, i.e. no minimum social security contributions.

Employees’ absence shall also be considered justified on the grounds of care for a dependent child or dependent under the age of 12, or with a chronic illness or disability, and shall not entail any loss of rights, where duly established by the competent health authorities or government. The employee is entitled to care allowance in the event of illness of a child or grandchild, paid by the social security authorities.

In situations where employees have to care for a child under 12 years of age or with a chronic illness or disability due to the forced school break, they can benefit from a monthly support corresponding to 2/3 of their remuneration, paid in equal parts by the employer and Social security, with a minimum national minimum wage of EUR 635 and a maximum of three national minimum wages of EUR 1905. This support depends on the application to social security and only in case other ways of being able to provide the activity are not justified.

It should be clarified that in the same family (household) only 1 parent can benefit from this support, since the same is not valid for both parents simultaneously.

Extraordinary protection measures were also adopted for the families of self- employed workers. These workers, also in the situations mentioned above, where they cannot normally continue their activity due to the care of children under 12 years old or with chronic illness or disability, or grandchildren, are entitled to financial support provided they have fulfilled their contribution obligation for at least 3 consecutive months. The support will be equivalent to 1/3 of the monthly reference pay considered for contribution purposes in the first quarter of 2020. In this case the limits are based on IAS (EUR 438,81), the minimum being 1 IAS and the maximum 2 1⁄2 IAS.

All these supports depend on application, again as long as the self-employed worker is unable to continue the activity in other ways.
Here too, only one parent can benefit from this support, as it cannot apply to both simultaneously.

Cláudia Vaz Póvoa
Employment Department
17th March 2020 

 

April 13, 2020 - No Comments!

TIME TO FILE YOUR TAX RETURN FOR 2019

Since 1st April 2020 individuals can file their personal tax return in Portugal for 2019. All Portuguese tax residents, including those with non-habitual tax residency status, are required to file a return based on their worldwide income for the previous tax year i.e. over the period 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2019. The deadline for filing is 30th June 2020.

If you have not filed tax returns for previous years you should file immediately in order to avoid accumulating interest, fines and possible seizure of bank accounts or assets.

We strongly recommend that the services of a Portuguese accountant are used in order to file the tax return correctly. We can as required provide the details of such an accountant on request.

We can assist with the preparation of the documents which will be required by your accountant and please contact us further on international@edge-il.com should you require this, or any other, assistance.

If you are a non-tax resident but have received Portuguese sourced income, such as rental income, for example, you are also required to file a tax return, as non-resident, for such income.

April 13, 2020 - No Comments!

Exceptional and temporary measures for the protection of jobs, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government approved Ordinance no. 71-A/2020, of 15th March, with a view to determine extraordinary measures of immediate support for employees and companies, in which it establishes a simplified lay-off regime.

Due to a deeper reflection of the Government and in order to better clarify this legislation, Decree-Law no. 10-G/2020, of 26th March, was created, with the aim to clarify and compile what is set out in the aforementioned Ordinance also determining its revocation. The above mentioned Decree-Law will remain in force up until 30th June 2020 at the least.

This new legislation refers to the “lay-off” already known and determined by the Employment Code, which means that companies in a proven crisis situation can resort to the suspension of employment contracts or the reduction of the normal working period, but now in a more simplified procedural way.

The business crisis situation must be proven by the employer and an application filed by electronic sent to Social security services.

For this purpose, three types of situations are considered to be a business crisis:

⁃ Companies which have been forced to close their facilities and establishments, as set out in DL 2-A/2020, of 20th March, or by legislative and administrative determination (DL 10- A/2020, of 13th March) due to the declaration of emergency state;

⁃ Companies whose employer has declared, together with a certified accountant’s certificate, the total or partial cease of the activity, either due to lack of supply or lack of orders or reservations depending on the activity;

⁃ Companies in which there has been an abrupt fall at least 40% in their invoicing, in the period of 30 days prior to the application to Social Security, in comparison with the two months prior to that period.

All entities in this situation are naturally subject to supervision and may, in this circumstance, have to provide the competent authorities with documentary evidence of this business crisis situation.

The supports to which the employer is entitled under this Decree Law are:

⁃  Extra financial support for the maintenance of an employment contract - support of 2/3 of the salary with a minimum limit of a national minimum wage paid in 70% by Social Security;

⁃  Extraordinary training support – not cumulative with the financial support for the maintenance of an employment contract:

⁃  Extraordinary financial incentive with a view to normalizing the activity in the company – a minimum monthly remuneration per employee covered;

⁃  Temporary exemption of contributions’ payment by the employer to Social Security services.

⁃  The companies that have not requested financial support to maintain their employment contracts may still have access to support for part-time vocational training, also for one month, a plan that will be articulated with IEFP, I.P., with up to 50% of the employees’ monthly salary up to a maximum of one national minimum wage.

Companies receiving the above-mentioned support may also benefit from an extraordinary support provided to ensure the normalization of the activity, which is paid in one lump sum, in the amount of one national minimum wage per employee.

These measures can be combined with total exemption from payment of social security contributions while the measure is in force.

Both during the period of application and during the following 60 days, dismissals are not allowed and companies may not terminate the employment contracts of their employees neither by collective dismissal nor by individual redundancy.

Naturally, it is expected that companies will adopt a transparent and compliant stance in terms of compliance with this support package, under penalty of ceasing it and the consequent reimbursement of its payment, to the respective entities. The following are considered to be situations of non-compliance: dismissals, except for fair dismissals; non- compliance with legal, fiscal, administrative and other obligations assumed by the employer; distribution of profits by the company during the period of obligations arising from these incentives; false declarations; and also in the case of work in the event of suspension of the employment contract or the provision of work that exceeds the established time when the working period is reduced.

Cláudia Vaz Póvoa
Employment Department
27th March 2020

April 13, 2020 - No Comments!

Golden Visa Portugal
Appointments at SEF offices

In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, and after the State of Emergency having been declared in Portugal, the Portuguese Government has been passing legislation on multiple areas to assure the continuity of important services and the rights and obligations of all citizens during this period.

As part of the set of measures which have been implemented by the Portuguese Government, the authorities have decided to suspend attendances in person at the SEF offices until 1st July 2020.

This was determined by Government Resolution no. 3863-B/2020 of 27th march 2020, which also decided that the appointments that had been scheduled until 27th March will be re-scheduled from 1st July 2020 onwards in chronological order.

The above resolution also decides that all people with pending residency applications that are living in Portugal will be considered legal and will be able to access the public services such as hospital, schools, enter into work contracts and lease agreements, and others.

The Golden Visa programme has not been subject to specific legislation and it is important to mention that all applications, both initial ones and renewals, are being processed as usual. The standard timeframes for processing applications have not been affected by the current situation.

As any legislative is a continuous and complex process, we will be monitoring daily any regulations which may have implications on the Golden Visa Programme and we shall be updating our clients promptly.

Lisbon, 6th April 2020 

April 13, 2020 - No Comments!

POST COVID-19
EDGE WEBINAR 15TH APRIL

PORTUGAL ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN THE WORLD

In the midst of the sequence of COVID-19 legislation, measures and restrictions which are being implemented globally to control the spread of the virus, and the resulting economic challenges, we should not lose sight of the fact that normality as we previously knew it will return. Many both domestically and internationally consider that the proportional response of the Portuguese Government to the crisis will position the country well in the post COVID-19 world.

Portugal will not have changed overnight and will continue to be an attractive country in which to live and invest, with the Golden Visa and Non Habitual Residency Programmes providing the ideal platforms to attract overseas investment. Forbes are in agreement with this view, putting Portugal, specifically the Algarve, at the top of the list of countries to live and retire overseas post COVID-19 and as a place to diversify lifestyle and investment portfolios. Forbes cites Portugal’s healthcare system, safety, infrastructure, healthy living, language and of course sunshine as some of the factors which make it one of the best places in the world to live.

As the government services adapt as quickly and innovatively as possible to the COVID-19 restrictions, Portugal promises to be well placed to take advantage of the eventual recovery and, in fact, benefit from a repositioning of the people’s priorities generally.

In the first of a series of webinars we will show how Portugal continues to be operate within the required COVID-19 restrictions and how the process of implementing a decision on a change of lifestyle can still be started now.

EDGE WEBINAR – WEDNESDAY 15TH APRIL AT 3 P.M.

APPLYING FOR NON HABITUAL RESIDENCY WHILST IN LOCKDOWN

DOOR OPENED TO A LONG FUTURE FOR NHR UNDER NEW RULES

For further details contact international@edge-il.com

April 13, 2020 - No Comments!

EDGE – INTERNATIONAL LAWYERS ONGOING LEGAL SERVICES DURING THE STATE OF EMERGENCY

The Portuguese Government is seeking to implement as effective measures as possible in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including the Declaration of the State of Emergency on 18th March 2020. The initial State of Emergency term of 15 days was extended by a further period of 15 days to 17th April 2020 with additional restrictions operating, particularly during the Easter period i.e. from midnight on 9th April 2020 until midnight on 13th April 2020.

However, we at EDGE understand that existing and new clients need our continued support and assistance, now more than ever, but it is also mandatory for us to adopt best practices in compliance with the State of Emergency legislation.

EDGE will continue to operate as a full service law firm, thinking ahead and providing integrated solutions through our network of EDGE lawyers who continue to work remotely in Lisbon, Almancil, Lagos and Porto. We can also provide any essential legal services at our offices, in full compliance with the government regulations.

The range of services which we can provided remotely and at our offices (if essential) will include:

1. All property services including the associated contracts and notarial services;
2. Residency by Investment services, including advice on the status of applications;
3. Non-Habitual Tax Residency Services;
4. Corporate and Commercial services including support for companies and company incorporations;
5. Obtaining Portuguese tax numbers;
6. Litigation Services;
7. Employment Services;
8. Probate and Wills services; and
9. Other ancillary services such as: opening of bank accounts; registration at the health centre; powers of attorney and certified copies; and exchange of driving licences.

Our aim is to, as far as possible, support both new and existing clients, as well as our partners, in the same that we always have. This will mean that, during the COVID-19 crisis, our clients and partners can continue to fully rely on us and, after the crisis has passed, they will have the best possible positioning to take advantage of the new market conditions.

 

Lisbon, 8th April 2020

March 13, 2020 - No Comments!

Coronavirus
EDGE’s ongoing commitment
Os compromissos da EDGE

To our clients, partners and friends

This is a message by way of reassurance to inform you that, despite the constantly evolving nature of the COVID-19 threat, EDGE International Lawyers will continue to be operate as normally as possible. At the same time, we felt it prudent to also reassure you that, due to the recommendations of the Portuguese Government together with the Portuguese and International Health organizations, we are taking proportional measures in terms of implementation of our contingency plan in order to control, and as far as possible prevent, the spread of COVID-19. These measures can be summarized as follows: remote working is being implemented as far as possible; all international business travel for our employees has been suspended; and meetings are being replaced by videoconferencing/conference calls.

EDGE prides itself on being very responsive and effective in our communication to and representation of clients. You can be assured that this level of professionalism in terms of response times and quality of delivery will continue. However, as a natural consequence of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus, we may not be able to respond with the same level of efficiency and we ask in this respect for your understanding. But our commitment to quality and efficiency will of course remain the same. We realise that this is a period of some challenge but we are confident that we can continue to maintain and develop our business relationships with you whilst also doing our small but important part to control the spread of the virus and reduce its impact throughout the country and beyond. With everyone doing their part, we can return to normality as soon as we possibly can.

The Partners of EDGE

———
Aos nossos Clientes, Parceiros e Amigos

Esta é uma mensagem para vos informar de que a EDGE International Lawyers, apesar da natureza de constante evolução da ameaça COVID-19, continuará a operar o mais normalmente possível. Ainda assim, sentimos que é prudente informar-vos que, devido
às recomendações do Governo Português e das Autoridade de Saúde Portuguesas e
Internacionais, estamos a tomar medidas proporcionais em termos de implementação do
nosso plano de contingência para controlar, e, na medida do possível, prevenir a
propagação do COVID-19. Essas medidas podem ser resumidas da seguinte forma: o
trabalho remoto está a ser implementado; todas as viagens de trabalho internacionais
dos nossos colaboradores foram suspensas; e as reuniões estão a ser substituídas por
videoconferência/teleconferência.
A EDGE pauta-se pela sua agilidade e eficácia na comunicação e representação dos
seus clientes. Asseguramos que o nosso nível de profissionalismo em termos de tempo

e qualidade de resposta continuará. No entanto, como consequência natural da
interrupção causada pelo vírus COVID-19, poderemos não ter a capacidade de
responder com o mesmo nível eficiência e pedimos, a este respeito, a vossa
compreensão. No entanto, o nosso compromisso para com a qualidade e eficiência
permanecerá, naturalmente, o mesmo.
Compreendemos que este é um período desafiante, mas estamos confiantes de que
podemos continuar a manter e desenvolver as nossas relações convosco, ao mesmo
tempo que fazemos a nossa pequena mas importante parte para controlar a propagação
do vírus e reduzir o seu impacto em todo o país e no mundo. Se todos fizermos a nossa
parte, poderemos voltar à normalidade o mais rapidamente possível.
———

The Partners of EDGE

January 13, 2020 - No Comments!

REPORTED CHANGES TO THE NHR PROGRAMME GOOD NEWS FOR ITS SUSTAINABILITY

The Portuguese NHR programme has now been running successfully for over 10 years and by the end of 2018 nearly 30,000 candidates had acquired the status, including a significant number of Portuguese nationals. The programme is generally considered as an unqualified success in terms of attracting the investment of these multi-national individuals.

Whilst many NHRs initially rent, it is our experience that the majority end up buying a property. NHRs also spend, investing in the local economies and they are not just individuals looking for a leisurely retirement. They in fact bring knowhow and business success stories, investing in local businesses and businesses organizations.

Given the success of the programme particularly over the last few years it was almost inevitable that it would come under some scrutiny from other EU countries, despite the fact that a significant number of these EU countries have their own programmes designed to attract foreign investment. Both Finland and Sweden successfully negotiated a change to the Double Taxation Treaty by which pension income, previously benefitting from an exemption in both the country of source and Portugal, would be taxed in the source country under certain conditions. As a result, there have been rumours of change for some years now, with most of these rumours focusing on pension income.

Despite that fact that there was no reference at all to the NHR programme in the original draft Budget, there have now been reports filtering through from at least two respected Portuguese newspapers that the government is preparing to move forward with a change to the Draft Budget.

This change would contemplate the imposition of a minimal flat rate of tax on pension income and the objective is also to ring fence existing NHRs, who would continue to benefit from a full exemption. The initial news report was published in a daily newspaper on Friday with a more detailed report being published in the weekend press.
From these reports it would appear that a change to the programme will be tabled during the discussion on the Budget details and this change would result in the following:
• A rate of tax of 10% on foreign pension applying to new NHRs with a minimum tax of €7,500;
• NHRs acquiring the status before the law comes into force would benefit under the existing rules;
• As a result, existing NHRs would be “grandfathered” under the existing legislation; and
• Existing NHRs could choose to have the new rules applied to them.
Therefore these changes are not particularly radical and rate of tax of 10% is in our view still very competitive. The grandfathering of existing NHRs has been a consistent position since changes were initially discussed (and then shelved) to taxation of NHR pension in 2017.

In fact, the respected commentators are largely unanimous in their view that existing NHRs will be grandfathered as tax legislation is constitutionally barred from having retrospective application. In addition, if there is a change now, we feel that the NHR programme could well be protected from more comprehensive future changes and pressure from other EU governments.
It is likely to be some weeks before there is a final definition on any change.

Lisbon, 13 th January 2020

January 13, 2020 - No Comments!

AS THE UK EXITS THE EU ON 31st JANUARY 2020, CAN BRITISH CITIZENS STILL ESTABLISH RESIDENCY RIGHTS?

With the UK scheduled to exit the EU on 31st January 2020, and the
transition period due to run from 1st February to 31st December 2020, there is
now a small window of opportunity for British citizens still to establish residency
rights in Portugal.

The Portuguese Brexit legislation states that British citizens who have
established their residency rights prior to the date of exit of the UK from the EU
will continue to enjoy those rights. Residency rights are established by first time
residents by obtaining an EU Residency Certificate from the Town/City Hall
which has jurisdiction over their rental property or property which they have
purchased.

Once this certificate is issued, the information contained in it is transmitted to the Portuguese Immigration and Border Authorities (SEF). However, British citizens who will not have officially established those residency rights before 31st January will have until 31st December 2020 to establish those rights, provided that they can produce evidence of Portuguese residency at the time of Brexit e.g. a tax return, a property deed, a rental agreement or an employment contract (this will be assessed on a case basis).

During the transition period, British citizens can continue to exercise their rights to live and work in Portugal. SEF have advised that between Brexit and the end of the transition period the process of exchange of existing EU residency documentation for a third country national residence visas will occur in special booths set up in Town/City Halls.

SEF have also advised that, whilst these visas will have to be renewed after year one and year three, the documentation which is normally required for third country nationals will be waived. Details of exactly how this will work have yet to be released.

British citizens should note that, upon the application of this law, British citizens who do no establish residency or who are unable to prove that they established residency in Portugal before 31st January 2020 will have to apply for a residency permit in the same way as other third country nationals.
There are a number of alternatives available in this respect including the Golden visa, employment visas and investment/retirement visas.

Lisbon, 13 th January 2020

December 18, 2019 - No Comments!

GOLDEN VISA INVESTOR REACHES PORTUGUESE CITIZENSHIP

We are happy to report that one of our first clients that invested in Portugal and was
granted residency through the Golden Visa programme has now obtained his
Portuguese citizenship. The citizenship application was submitted in October 2018,
subsequently to the reduction of the minimum residency time to apply for
nationality from 6 to 5 years, and has finally been approved by the Civil Registrar.

Our now fellow citizen complied with the minimum stay requirements associated with
the Golden Visa programme, including the minimum stay requirement of 7 and 14 days
and at the end of the 5 years, after obtaining his A2 certificate in Portuguese language,
requested and received his permanentresident status. Subsequently, once all the
necessary documents were obtained, we submitted his citizenship application, which
has now been approved.

The approval is simply a confirmation of EDGE’s position since the beginning of the
programme, which has always been that all residents are entitled to apply for and obtain
Portuguese citizenship after 5 years, whether such residency is obtained through
the Golden Visa programme or through other categories.

EDGE has been involved with the Golden Visa programme since the beginning and
has now assisted over 2,500 investors and their families of more than 30 different
nationalities. Our vast experience has allowed us to provide full and dedicated
support to our clients, from the initial investment all the way to citizenship.
Lisbon, 17 th December 2019