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Understanding Portugal’s Value Added Tax (VAT) System: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses and Consumers

Portugal's VAT System

Introduction

Welcome to this comprehensive guide on Portugal’s Value Added Tax (VAT) system. VAT is an important aspect of the Portuguese economy, and understanding how it works is essential for both businesses and Customers. This guide will cover the basics of the Portuguese VAT system, including its impact, functioning, and applicable rates. We will also cover VAT registration and filing requirements, as well as the penalties for non-compliance. Whether you are a business owner or a consumer, this guide will provide you with the information you need to understand Portugal’s VAT system.

What is VAT?

VAT stands for Value Added Tax. The Portuguese VAT system charges a consumption tax on the value added to goods and services at each stage of production and distribution. In other words, VAT is a tax on the value added to a product or service at each stage of the supply chain, from raw materials to the final consumer.

The European Union commonly utilizes VAT as a tax system. VAT serves the dual purpose of generating government revenue and ensuring equitable distribution of the tax burden among businesses and Customers.

Businesses generally apply VAT as a percentage of the sale price of a good or service. Businesses engaged in activities subject to VAT must register for VAT purposes and have the obligation to charge VAT on their sales and collect it from their customers. In certain conditions, they can then deduct the VAT they have paid on their purchases from the VAT they have collected and remit the net amount to the government.

Why is VAT important in Portugal?

VAT plays a crucial role in achieving a fair distribution of the tax burden between businesses and Customers. By charging VAT at each stage of the supply chain, the tax burden is spread across all parties involved in the production and distribution of a good or service. This means that businesses that add more value to a product or service pay more VAT, while Customers pay a fair share based on their consumption.

Furthermore, VAT serves as a Obstacle against tax evasion and fraud by Requiring registered businesses to maintain precise records and submit regular VAT returns. This helps to ensure that businesses are paying the appropriate amount of VAT and that the government is collecting the revenue it is owed.

VAT Basics

Value Added Tax (VAT) levies a tax on the value added to goods and services at every stage of their production and distribution. It is a consumption tax that is ultimately paid by the final consumer.

Most goods and services in Portugal are subject to VAT. The current standard VAT rate is 23%, but there are reduced rates of 6% and 13% for certain goods and services, such as, food, water, energy, pharmaceutical products, books, and newspapers.

Businesses are responsible for collecting and remitting VAT on behalf of the government. Businesses are also eligible to reclaim VAT paid on goods and services utilized for their business operations. Customers, on the other hand, pay VAT on the goods and services they purchase. The price of goods or services includes the VAT amount paid by Customers.

VAT Registration

Businesses offering taxable goods and services in Portugal must register for VAT. This includes both resident and non-resident businesses. Non-resident businesses have the option to register for VAT in Portugal, and in some cases, they may need to appoint a fiscal representative.

The registration process typically involves obtaining the tax identification number and filling out an application form and submitting it to the Portuguese Tax Authority. The application requires information such as the legal name of the business, the business address, the VAT identification number , type of transactions the entity will be engaged with, expected turnover for the first year, providing the IBAN for the company and the type of goods or services the entity provides.

Once the application has been approved, the business will receive a VAT number and will be required to collect and remit VAT on behalf of the government.

It is important to note that businesses must register for VAT before they start providing taxable goods or services. Failure to do so can result in penalties and fines.

Additionally, businesses must keep accurate records of their VAT transactions, including invoices, receipts, and VAT returns. These records must be kept for at least 10 years and must be available for inspection by the Portuguese Tax Authority.

Portugal's VAT System

VAT Returns

Businesses registered for VAT in Portugal must submit VAT returns either monthly or quarterly, depending on their turnover. The monthly filing, up to the 20th of the second month following the one to which the return refers to, if the annual turnover is lower than € 650,000, quarterly filing, up to the 20th of the second following month. You need to electronically file the VAT returns via the website of the Portuguese Tax Authority.

The VAT return typically includes information on the business’s VAT transactions for the reporting period, including the amount of VAT charged on sales and the amount of VAT paid on purchases. The business needs to calculate the net amount of VAT owed to the government or the amount eligible for refund, depending on whether they have paid more VAT than they have charged.

It is important to note that businesses must submit their VAT returns on time to avoid penalties and fines. Late payment of VAT can result in interest charges and penalties.

Furthermore, businesses must keep precise records of their VAT transactions, including invoices, receipts, and VAT returns. Businesses must retain these records for a minimum of 10 years and make them accessible for inspection by the Portuguese Tax Authority.

VAT Deductions and Refunds

Businesses registered for VAT in Portugal can offset the VAT they have paid on purchases by deducting it from the VAT they have charged on sales. This means that they only have to remit the net amount of VAT to the government.

However, there are certain rules and limitations that apply to VAT deductions. For example, businesses can only deduct VAT that is directly related to their business activities. VAT on expenses unrelated to business activities, such as personal expenses, is not eligible for deduction.

Additionally, businesses must have proper documentation to support their VAT deductions. This includes invoices, receipts, and other documents that show the VAT paid on their purchases.

If a business has paid more VAT than it has charged, it may be eligible for a VAT refund. The refund process typically involves submitting a VAT refund claim to the Portuguese Tax Authority. To make a valid claim, proper documentation such as invoices and receipts must accompany the request.

It is important to note that there are specific deadlines for submitting VAT refund claims, and failure to submit a claim on time can result in penalties and fines.

In contrast, Customers are not eligible to deduct VAT on their purchases. Customers pay VAT as part of the price for goods or services they purchase.

VAT and E-commerce

E-commerce has become an increasingly important part of the global economy, and Portugal is no exception. The Portuguese VAT system applies to e-commerce transactions in much the same way as it applies to traditional transactions.

Portuguese customers require businesses that sell goods or services online to register for VAT in Portugal if their annual turnover exceeds €35,000. Non-resident businesses can register for VAT through a fiscal representative.

E-commerce businesses must also comply with certain VAT rules, such as charging the appropriate VAT rate on their sales, issuing VAT invoices, and filing VAT returns. E-commerce businesses that sell goods to Customers in other European Union (EU) countries may also be subject to distance selling rules, which require them to register for VAT in the customer’s country once their sales exceed a certain threshold.

In addition, e-commerce businesses that sell digital products or services, such as e-books or online courses, to customers in the EU are subject to special VAT rules. Under these rules, the VAT rate is based on the customer’s location, rather than the location of the supplier.

Overall, e-commerce businesses must carefully consider the VAT implications of their transactions and ensure they are in following the rules with Portuguese and EU VAT rules. Failure to comply with these rules can result in penalties and fines.

Portugal's VAT System

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Portuguese VAT system can be complex, but it is a crucial aspect of doing business in Portugal. Businesses must register for VAT, file VAT returns, and comply with VAT rules, including charging the appropriate VAT rate on their sales, issuing VAT invoices, and keeping Correct records.

VAT Subtractions and refunds are available to businesses, but they must have proper documentation to support their claims. E-commerce businesses must also comply with specific VAT rules, including those related to distance selling and digital products.

Businesses and Customers must comprehend and abide by the rules and Guidelines of the Portuguese VAT system. Compliance ensures avoiding penalties, contributing fairly to the country’s economy.

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