Portugal has recently introduced a new regime, effective retrospectively from 1 January 2009, which affords beneficial tax treatment for qualifying income arising from a Portuguese source for non-habitual residents (see below for an explanation of this term), arriving in Portugal during 2009 or thereafter
The regime was published in September 2009 but is effective from 1 January 2009. Employment income and self-employment income arising from a Portuguese source, which qualifies under the conditions of the regime, will be taxed at a flat rate of 20%. In certain circumstances, foreign income can also benefit from this special regime if the income is not exempt in Portugal under the provisions of a double tax agreement.
Non-habitual residents are individuals who arrived in Portugal and became resident in Portugal for tax purposes (“tax resident”) at any time during or after 2009 but who have not been tax resident in Portugal in the preceding five years. To benefit from this regime, an individual must be registered with the Portuguese tax authorities as a non-habitual resident. Once registered, the special non-habitual resident status applies for a period of 10 years, provided the individual remains a tax resident of Portugal and elects to be taxed as non-habitual resident.
Individuals who arrived in Portugal during 2009 or who may go to Portugal in 2010 or later and who wish to benefit from the advantageous tax treatment afforded under the regime should register with the Portuguese tax authorities to obtain non-habitual resident status.
Decree 249/2009 in Portuguese: Decreto-Lei n.º 249/2009