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Concerned about the tax implications of buying property in Portugal? Good news! Foreigners who want to buy in Portugal and meet certain criteria may be exempt from paying tax on most forms of overseas income. Here’s how!

In a bid to bounce back from the 2008 financial crisis, Portugal has transformed itself into a honey pot for high net-worth individuals across the globe. From the UK to South Africa and from Scandinavia to the US, Portugal is attracting investment from all over the world.

The Golden Visa is a major driving force behind the country’s recovery. It requires a €500,000 injection into the Portuguese property market, after which investors and their families are granted permanent residency, and the right to travel freely through Europe in accordance with the EU’s freedom of movement.

A natural extension to the Golden Visa, or a standalone option for international expats, is Portugal’s Non-Habitual Residence scheme. Aimed at attracting foreign investment into the country’s property market, the programme offers fantastic tax breaks for foreigners looking to relocate.And it seems to be working: Portugal’s economy expanded in 2017 at its fastest rate in a decade, while unemployment dropped from 17.5% in 2013 to 9.2% in 2017.

With tax breaks, a strong economic outlook and beautiful sunshine for much of the year (not to mention the golf, wine and food!), Portugal is a magnet for expats and investors.

Let’s take a closer look at the Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) programme.

What is the NHR?

Introduced in 2009, foreigners who reside in Portugal and meet certain criteria are exempt from paying tax on most forms of overseas income, including pensions, for a period of ten years.

In essence, the NHR provides a ten year tax break on certain types of income streams. Advance planning can make these income streams tax efficient beyond the ten years.

Who does this benefit?

The NHR is extremely attractive to Brits, Scandinavians and citizens from other European countries paying higher tax rates. The programme is also popular with Americans and South Africans.

It also makes a huge difference to UK buyers who wish to withdraw a lump sum from their pensions to invest in overseas property – something that would accrue heavy tax penalties if completed while resident in the UK.
Do you have to live in Portugal to take advantage of the NHR?

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