Fiscal Obligations for Self-Employed in Portugal

  • Paula
    Paula
    Over the last 10 years Paula has specialised in Accounting and Auditing in a wide range of businesses and companies in Portugal. She graduated from the University of Accountancy (ISCAL) in Lisbon and has an Executive Masters in Accountancy from ISCTE/INDEG. She speaks English fluently.
  • Leonel
    Leonel
    Leonel graduated with a degree in Accounting (1993) and Economics (1994) and has worked in accounting and finance since then. As well as basic accounting, his considerable experience extends to Financial Analysis & Planning, group reporting, budgeting, profit centre modelling, forecasting, cash management, business development support, auditing, tax & legal compliance, supplier negotiations, KPI control, and business strategy. Leonel speaks English fluently and has Cambridge University Certificates in English (1995) and Advanced English (1996).

Client Testimonials

Below is a list of recent client testimonials received from previous clients, obtained via Wufoo client survey platform:

  • Default Avatar75
    Cheryl, Seville
    Monday, May 28, 2018
    Miguel was helpful and kind. We will use his service in the future.
  • Default Avatar75
    Caroline R, Barcelona
    Tuesday, April 24, 2018
    Miguel has been great!

    His English is excellent, he explains everything clearly, emails when he says he will, and is very efficient in the service he provides.

    I'd definitely recommend him to ...friends.
  • Default Avatar75
    SH, England
    Friday, April 20, 2018
    Very satisfied with the service provided. Miguel was approachable and prompt in replying.
  • Default Avatar75
    A. Kavanagh, Glasgow
    Thursday, March 15, 2018
    Miguel provided a great service and fully explained to me about the procedures with tax & business registration. My emails and questions where always answered straight away with an immediate response ...or solution.

    Very helpful and very friendly I would definitely recommend to anyone considering using Advocate Abroad
  • Default Avatar75
    A.Kavanagh, Glasgow
    Friday, March 09, 2018
    Rosa was exceptional at helping me setting up my business abroad.

    This was a big move for me and Rosa fully explained everything to me in detail so I had a full and clear understanding of the lega...l side of things as well as always promptly responding to any emails or questions I had.

    I couldn’t of asked for a better lawyer and I would 100% recommend Rosa to anyone who is deciding to move abroad.

    Great service could not be happier.
  • Default Avatar75
    Gavin Jones, UK
    Monday, February 19, 2018
    It was a real pleasure to have Miguel working on my behalf to file my non-resident taxes. He was extremely helpful, gave reassuring advice and I had a high level of confidence in the transactions.

    ...Miguel is now acting as my fiscal representative in Spain and I plan to continue to use his firm's services for all my tax requirements.
  • Default Avatar75
    Ali Hashemi, Alicante
    Wednesday, February 14, 2018
    Rafael was extremely helpful, accommodating and understanding. He couldn't have done more.
  • Default Avatar75
    Richard Quick, Estepona
    Sunday, February 04, 2018
    I was particularly impressed by Miguel's approachability & professionalism, excellent service!
  • Default Avatar75
    Francis Dale, Marbella
    Thursday, December 21, 2017
    Very helpful, quick to respond and very knowledgeable.
  • Default Avatar75
    Bart Cuyvers, Belgium
    Wednesday, December 20, 2017
    The service we received was perfect!
  • Default Avatar75
    S Crawford, Alhaurín El Grande
    Wednesday, November 22, 2017
    Miguel was quick to respond to questions, professional, personable, knowledgeable. Very Satisfied with the service.
  • Default Avatar75
    Bruce and Susan Moore, England
    Tuesday, October 31, 2017
    Great responsive and assured service
  • Default Avatar75
    Hugh and Ann Morgan, Palma de Mallorca
    Monday, October 30, 2017
    His command of English is First Class.

    He demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and efficiency and l would have no hesitation in using him again or recommending him to any of my collea...gues or friends

    Competent, capable value for money FIRST CLASS and a credit to the organisation
  • Default Avatar75
    Anthony Bennett, Barcelona
    Thursday, October 19, 2017
    Anna provided the best possible solution for me in my situation, and helped out as much as she possibly could. I would recommend her services to anybody seeking legal or financial advice.
  • Default Avatar75
    Carlos Pelaez, London
    Monday, July 03, 2017
    She was friendly and attentive at all times, quick answers on whatsapp app and always up to help and answer my questions. I'm pretty satisfied with her service.
  • Default Avatar75
    Amy Wahba, Barcelona
    Monday, March 06, 2017
    She was understanding and tried to maintain positive always even when doors closed in our face. She is always smiling and tried to find solutions to my problems which kept me always at rest.
  • Default Avatar75
    Richard Whiteside, Lucena
    Monday, February 20, 2017
    Miguel has provided an excellent service, helping me sort out my tax and social security obligations as an ‘autonomo’.

    He is always prompt with his answers to my questions, he offers timely adv...ice and always makes sure that I am prepared in advance.

    His English level is excellent and I will continue to use his service in the future.
  • Default Avatar75
    Robert Toth, Ireland
    Thursday, February 09, 2017
    Anna was very, very helpful, always happy to assist and also approachable and professional. I was very satisfied with the legal services.
  • Default Avatar75
    Saeid Aboutalebian, Iran
    Wednesday, February 08, 2017
    Everything is good about Anna. She is very friendly. And I definitely would use the same lawyer again in the future.
  • Default Avatar75
    Fiona Murie, UK
    Wednesday, November 09, 2016
    Miguel has always been extremely approachable, helpful and given sound advice. He has kept us informed at every stage and quickly answered questions to help us make informed decisions.

    We feel like... we have had value for money and will definitely use Miguel as our only lawyer for all Spanish business.
    He has been fantastic! Very professional
  • Default Avatar75
    JS, Barcelona
    Friday, May 20, 2016
    Miguel is extremely helpful, couldn’t have done more. He is also responsive, transparent and informative.
  • Default Avatar75
    Sharon Janet, Stoke-On-Trent
    Wednesday, April 06, 2016
    Miguel was always available to discuss any issues we had.

    Excellent service more than happy and will be going back to him with and future legal issues. I would advise anyone to deal with this pract...ice more than accommodating.
  • Default Avatar75
    AJH Platino Servicios, S.L., Tenerife
    Tuesday, March 31, 2015
    To date these are routine services but he appears to be up to date with the latest legislation and the advice we have received thus far has appeared sensible to me. As we begin to explore what our com...pany might do I am sure we can make it a little more challenging for him!
  • Default Avatar75
    Marian O’Dwyer, Alhama Granada
    Monday, March 30, 2015
    Prompt, professional, friendly, explained everything clearly, went above and beyond the necessary to make things easy.
  • Default Avatar75
    Kevin Neylon, Poland
    Monday, February 23, 2015
    Jaime was very responsive, represented value for money and was very professional and helpful. I was very satisfied with his advice.
  • Default Avatar75
    P.T., Benalmadena
    Thursday, January 15, 2015
    All tax returns are handled online, so I don't need to go anywhere to accomplish my tax obligations in Spain. Although the service is provided mainly by internet, Jaime met me when necessary, and I ca...n always contact quickly him or his team by phone, email, skype and even whatsapp.

    Jaime and his team have been really helpful during the setting-up process of my business.
  • Default Avatar75
    Nikolay Denev, Cádiz
    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    I was very satisfied with the short time it took to set-up my documents and register me as autonomo initially.
    Now I'm happy with the service, and if I have any questions I have them answered quickly... and the answers are always easy to understand.

    The service represents excellent value for money.
  • Default Avatar75
    H R Crowther, Huddersfield
    Monday, November 10, 2014
    Prompt response followed by confirmatary e-mails. Very approachable, and inspired confidence. Good value for money. Very satisfied and would definitely use the service again.
  • Default Avatar75
    Florian Burkart, Barcelona
    Friday, September 05, 2014
    What we like about the service from Advocate Abroad: - Very knowledgeable and competent - Very friendly and helpful - Very good English and reasonable prices - Not trying to rip us off
  • Default Avatar75
    B Clarke, Jayena
    Friday, February 14, 2014
    Jaime was extremely helpful and professional. He was happy to meet all of our requests and made our transaction extremely simple. Everything was explained clearly and all of our questions were answere...d.

    We also felt that the service provided to us, offered great value for money and we would highly recommend Jaime to other individuals.

Virtually all self-employed people in Portugal, especially if they do not have an excellent command of Portuguese (and even if they do) hire a professional to manage their fiscal affairs. They will normally handle registration with the relevant government agencies and then manage ongoing fiscal obligations.

There is normally a charge for handling initial registration and then a monthly charge for handling ongoing income tax and VAT returns.

 

Tax Returns

Autonomos (sole-traders) in Spain must make quarterly and annual income tax and VAT (known as IVA in Spain) returns. This will require the maintenance of records of all bills and invoices, with VAT receipts and payments noted separately.

An accountant will then use this information to fill-in the relevant tax and VAT forms before submitting them to the local offices of Hacienda (tax office).

As well as the quarterly income tax and VAT returns, an annual return must be made in respect of both – in the case of VAT at the beginning of the year, before January 31st and in the case of income tax, at the end of June.

For those who are self-employed (as opposed to those who own limited companies) this is the same as the annual personal income tax return that most individuals in Spain must make. If your personal financial circumstances are complex e.g. multiple properties, stocks, shares and other investments then your accountant may charge additionally for assisting you with this annual tax return.

 

Tax Deductions

Those costs and bills that give rise to legitimate tax deductions  against income in Spain – as opposed to those which do not – is a subject worthy of a fairly lengthy book. However, as a broad rule, those bills that are necessarily incurred in the operation of a business may typically be deducted.

So, the rental of offices, any employee related costs as well as the purchase and operation of office equipment (assuming that they are related to the operation of the business) may legitimately be deducted from any income before the payment of taxes.

More complex questions can sometimes arise where a telephone or vehicle are used partially for work and partially for personal use. Normally the percentage of the cost relating to work can be deducted but great care must be taken as in some cases the use of a vehicle may not be considered as a suitable deduction.

 

Social Security Obligations

This  will cost the typical autonomo or sole-trader around €250 per month. This will entitle a self-employed person to receive health care from the Portuguese national health service as well as a pension upon reaching the statutory pensionable age.

Depending on the amount paid, a sole-trader may also receive unemployment benefits should their business become unsustainable. However, this is a complex issue and eligibility will depend on how the business became unsustainable. The amount and quantity of unemployment payments will depend on the number and amount of social security contributions that have been made.

If you are under 30 years of age or have been long term unemployed or are a woman over the prescribed age you may be entitled to a reduction in the monthly payments. This needs to be checked in each particular case.

The payment falls due regardless of whether or how much you are earning from your business. It is paid monthly and so it is not sensible to register on the last day of the month as you will be liable for that months social security contributions even though you are only registered for a single day.

 

Invoicing

Most people that move to Spain have previously only ever worked as employees which means they have never had experience of having to invoice a client before.

For those that have never issued them before, an invoice is an important document for fiscal purposes and is it may be used in investigations carried out by the revenue officials of Hacienda there are certain legal minimum requirements regarding the information that the invoice must contain:

The invoice must be identified as such and clearly contain the word ‘Factura’ (Invoice in Portuguese) without any additions. It must contain the date of emission and the date of carrying-out the activity if different from the date of emission.

The invoices must be numbered consecutively but the starting place or space between each number is irrelevant (001, 002, 003 or 1000, 1005, 1010).

Your fiscal details must be included – NIE number (or CIF if a company), registered address of the business.

Details of the Client – NIE or CIF and registered address. This is unnecessary if the client is not a business or other professional but an end consumer.

Discounts – if any, should be identified.

Base Amount charged – the net amount charged plus the IVA (VAT) including the rate charged.

Total Amount Charged – the previous quantities added together.

Any currency may be used but there must be a conversion into Euros. The invoice may be emitted in any form and there is no requirement for it to be stamped.

So as an example,  if you are charging €1000 for a service, you would in fact invoice 1000€ + 18% IVA (VAT) – 15% IRPF (income tax) and therefore expect to receive €1030 (€1000 + €180 – €150 = €1030).

This means that you are effectively paying your tax as you go. At the end of each quarter your tax bill is calculated and any retentions you have already made are deducted from your final tax bill.

You will need also to keep any VAT you charge apart as you are responsible for paying this to the government at the end of each quarter. VAT received is  balanced against any VAT paid on products and services required for the running of the business and any positive balance is payable.

 

Impact of Brexit

More and more enquiries are requesting information on the impact of Brexit, and unfortunately there is little in the way of guidance, however we have posted a brief summary of the current situation regarding Brexit and business in Spain and hope to be able to provide more guidance as time goes on.

 

Pay Local Rates for Quality Local Services

Advocate Abroad is a network of English-speaking professional service providers that have been selected on the basis that they not only have the required experience to provide excellent fiscal support – in English of course – but also because they represent real value for money.

While the service providers at Advocate Abroad all speak excellent English they are typically working with local clients, (rather than exclusively with English-speaking customers) and therefore need to be truly competitive in order to succeed.

This means that when you use a Advocate Abroad accountant or lawyer you will quickly notice that you are paying local rates rather than the premium rates charged to ‘foreigners’ who usually aren’t aware that they are paying premium rates.

 

 

Self-Employed Set-Up & Tax Service in Portugal

Your are focused on your business in Portugal which is why you need your tax and accounting matters to be as straightforward, cost-effective and hassle-free as possible.

Our English-speaking accountants will take care of all registration and day-to-day issues relating to Portuguese tax, social security and accounting matters. Which leaves you with all the time you need to dedicate to your business.

 

Regulated Experts

Our consultants are registered and regulated by the Professional Accountants Body of Portugal and speak fluent English. Therefore, you can be sure that you will obtain timely answers to any queries you may have, in a language that you understand!

 

Office Locations Across Portugal

As well as offices in Lisbon, accounting and associated services to English-speaking clients are provided via the Advocate Abroad network of offices in Portugal (red markers on main map below). Each of the lawyers on the map of Portugal below are registered and regulated by the Law Society of Portugal and so we are able to offer a truly nationwide service to English-speakers wherever they wish to set-up their business in Portugal.

Service Features

Our English-speaking consultants will answer your questions about how Portuguese law affects your business and then make sure you comply with Portuguese legal requirements relating to legally constituting a business. This will normally require at least some of the following services:

  • Registration with the AT (Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira – Tax Authority) and the Social Security System
  • Recommendation on the most appropriate fiscal arrangement to ensure taxation levels are optimised
  • Resolution of tax enquiries related to your professional activity
  • Completion and presentation of all required tax returns
  • Maintenance of all legally required records (income, expenses, invoicing,assets)
  • Updates on any legislative changes affecting your professional activity

 

Fees

This service costs from €60 per calendar month 

 

Additional Services

The Self-Employed Set-Up and Tax Service is ideal for an individual sole trader who is planning to work alone. But, should you later add employees to your expanding business then you will want to add the Fully Managed HR & Payroll Service:

 

Fully Managed HR & Payroll Service

This service includes the following components:

  • Initial Set-up according to client’s requirements
  • Production of Employee Payslips (printed at client site)
  • Management & Payment of Employer & Employee Social Security Contributions
  • Registration and Removal of Employees from Social Security system

 

This service costs €25 per month for the first employee and €20 per additional employee.

 

Client Testimonials

Of course, it is always prudent to consider real, honest testimonials from English-speaking individuals and businesses operating abroad before choosing a professional that will be pivotal in your future success.

Below are real testimonials from previous clients who have sourced tax and accounting services in Europe via Advocate Abroad® (placed by the the clients themselves directly onto the Wufoo client survey platform):

  • Default Avatar75
    Cheryl, Seville
    Monday, May 28, 2018
    Miguel was helpful and kind. We will use his service in the future.
  • Default Avatar75
    Caroline R, Barcelona
    Tuesday, April 24, 2018
    Miguel has been great!

    His English is excellent, he explains everything clearly, emails when he says he will, and is very efficient in the service he provides.

    I'd definitely recommend him to ...friends.
  • Default Avatar75
    SH, England
    Friday, April 20, 2018
    Very satisfied with the service provided. Miguel was approachable and prompt in replying.
  • Default Avatar75
    A. Kavanagh, Glasgow
    Thursday, March 15, 2018
    Miguel provided a great service and fully explained to me about the procedures with tax & business registration. My emails and questions where always answered straight away with an immediate response ...or solution.

    Very helpful and very friendly I would definitely recommend to anyone considering using Advocate Abroad
  • Default Avatar75
    A.Kavanagh, Glasgow
    Friday, March 09, 2018
    Rosa was exceptional at helping me setting up my business abroad.

    This was a big move for me and Rosa fully explained everything to me in detail so I had a full and clear understanding of the lega...l side of things as well as always promptly responding to any emails or questions I had.

    I couldn’t of asked for a better lawyer and I would 100% recommend Rosa to anyone who is deciding to move abroad.

    Great service could not be happier.
  • Default Avatar75
    Gavin Jones, UK
    Monday, February 19, 2018
    It was a real pleasure to have Miguel working on my behalf to file my non-resident taxes. He was extremely helpful, gave reassuring advice and I had a high level of confidence in the transactions.

    ...Miguel is now acting as my fiscal representative in Spain and I plan to continue to use his firm's services for all my tax requirements.
  • Default Avatar75
    Ali Hashemi, Alicante
    Wednesday, February 14, 2018
    Rafael was extremely helpful, accommodating and understanding. He couldn't have done more.
  • Default Avatar75
    Richard Quick, Estepona
    Sunday, February 04, 2018
    I was particularly impressed by Miguel's approachability & professionalism, excellent service!
  • Default Avatar75
    Francis Dale, Marbella
    Thursday, December 21, 2017
    Very helpful, quick to respond and very knowledgeable.
  • Default Avatar75
    Bart Cuyvers, Belgium
    Wednesday, December 20, 2017
    The service we received was perfect!
  • Default Avatar75
    S Crawford, Alhaurín El Grande
    Wednesday, November 22, 2017
    Miguel was quick to respond to questions, professional, personable, knowledgeable. Very Satisfied with the service.
  • Default Avatar75
    Bruce and Susan Moore, England
    Tuesday, October 31, 2017
    Great responsive and assured service
  • Default Avatar75
    Hugh and Ann Morgan, Palma de Mallorca
    Monday, October 30, 2017
    His command of English is First Class.

    He demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and efficiency and l would have no hesitation in using him again or recommending him to any of my collea...gues or friends

    Competent, capable value for money FIRST CLASS and a credit to the organisation
  • Default Avatar75
    Anthony Bennett, Barcelona
    Thursday, October 19, 2017
    Anna provided the best possible solution for me in my situation, and helped out as much as she possibly could. I would recommend her services to anybody seeking legal or financial advice.
  • Default Avatar75
    Carlos Pelaez, London
    Monday, July 03, 2017
    She was friendly and attentive at all times, quick answers on whatsapp app and always up to help and answer my questions. I'm pretty satisfied with her service.
  • Default Avatar75
    Amy Wahba, Barcelona
    Monday, March 06, 2017
    She was understanding and tried to maintain positive always even when doors closed in our face. She is always smiling and tried to find solutions to my problems which kept me always at rest.
  • Default Avatar75
    Richard Whiteside, Lucena
    Monday, February 20, 2017
    Miguel has provided an excellent service, helping me sort out my tax and social security obligations as an ‘autonomo’.

    He is always prompt with his answers to my questions, he offers timely adv...ice and always makes sure that I am prepared in advance.

    His English level is excellent and I will continue to use his service in the future.
  • Default Avatar75
    Robert Toth, Ireland
    Thursday, February 09, 2017
    Anna was very, very helpful, always happy to assist and also approachable and professional. I was very satisfied with the legal services.
  • Default Avatar75
    Saeid Aboutalebian, Iran
    Wednesday, February 08, 2017
    Everything is good about Anna. She is very friendly. And I definitely would use the same lawyer again in the future.
  • Default Avatar75
    Fiona Murie, UK
    Wednesday, November 09, 2016
    Miguel has always been extremely approachable, helpful and given sound advice. He has kept us informed at every stage and quickly answered questions to help us make informed decisions.

    We feel like... we have had value for money and will definitely use Miguel as our only lawyer for all Spanish business.
    He has been fantastic! Very professional
  • Default Avatar75
    JS, Barcelona
    Friday, May 20, 2016
    Miguel is extremely helpful, couldn’t have done more. He is also responsive, transparent and informative.
  • Default Avatar75
    Sharon Janet, Stoke-On-Trent
    Wednesday, April 06, 2016
    Miguel was always available to discuss any issues we had.

    Excellent service more than happy and will be going back to him with and future legal issues. I would advise anyone to deal with this pract...ice more than accommodating.
  • Default Avatar75
    AJH Platino Servicios, S.L., Tenerife
    Tuesday, March 31, 2015
    To date these are routine services but he appears to be up to date with the latest legislation and the advice we have received thus far has appeared sensible to me. As we begin to explore what our com...pany might do I am sure we can make it a little more challenging for him!
  • Default Avatar75
    Marian O’Dwyer, Alhama Granada
    Monday, March 30, 2015
    Prompt, professional, friendly, explained everything clearly, went above and beyond the necessary to make things easy.
  • Default Avatar75
    Kevin Neylon, Poland
    Monday, February 23, 2015
    Jaime was very responsive, represented value for money and was very professional and helpful. I was very satisfied with his advice.
  • Default Avatar75
    P.T., Benalmadena
    Thursday, January 15, 2015
    All tax returns are handled online, so I don't need to go anywhere to accomplish my tax obligations in Spain. Although the service is provided mainly by internet, Jaime met me when necessary, and I ca...n always contact quickly him or his team by phone, email, skype and even whatsapp.

    Jaime and his team have been really helpful during the setting-up process of my business.
  • Default Avatar75
    Nikolay Denev, Cádiz
    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    I was very satisfied with the short time it took to set-up my documents and register me as autonomo initially.
    Now I'm happy with the service, and if I have any questions I have them answered quickly... and the answers are always easy to understand.

    The service represents excellent value for money.
  • Default Avatar75
    H R Crowther, Huddersfield
    Monday, November 10, 2014
    Prompt response followed by confirmatary e-mails. Very approachable, and inspired confidence. Good value for money. Very satisfied and would definitely use the service again.
  • Default Avatar75
    Florian Burkart, Barcelona
    Friday, September 05, 2014
    What we like about the service from Advocate Abroad: - Very knowledgeable and competent - Very friendly and helpful - Very good English and reasonable prices - Not trying to rip us off
  • Default Avatar75
    B Clarke, Jayena
    Friday, February 14, 2014
    Jaime was extremely helpful and professional. He was happy to meet all of our requests and made our transaction extremely simple. Everything was explained clearly and all of our questions were answere...d.

    We also felt that the service provided to us, offered great value for money and we would highly recommend Jaime to other individuals.

Regulated Experts

Our consultants are registered and regulated by the Professional Accountants Body of Portugal and speak fluent English. Therefore, you can be sure that you will obtain timely answers to any queries you may have, in a language that you understand!

If you would like to discuss your business plans in Portugal in greater depth, contact us on or telephone  +351 308 801 853 (Portugal) or 0800 098 8033  (UK), or via the email form below.

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