What is The Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Program In Portugal

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Are you considering moving overseas or searching for a beneficial tax regime? Portugal could be the country you’re looking for, thanks to the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR Portugal) Program. Portugal offers more than just a rich culture, a high quality of life, and year-round sunshine. It also provides impressive tax benefits to attract global citizens like you.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find all the details about the NHR program, its benefits, eligibility, and how to apply. It’s designed to appeal to high-value professionals, retirees, and investors like you who are keen on optimizing their tax situation. So, if you’re planning to spend your golden years soaking up Portugal’s sun or seeking tax advantages with your overseas investment, the Portuguese NHR program could be your ticket to a financially smart relocation.

What is The Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) Program In Portugal?

The Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) Program in Portugal isn’t a path to legal residency but a unique taxation regime that offers tax benefits if you decide to move to Portugal. It’s open to individuals from around the world, including those from non-EU countries. It provides reduced income tax rates and exemptions over ten years.

The Origin of the NHR Scheme

Launched in 2009, the NHR scheme aimed to draw professionals of high cultural and economic worth to Portugal. You might meet the specific eligibility criteria if you’re an architect, engineer, musician, or scientist. The goal was to increase Portugal’s global competitiveness by bringing in individuals with high-value skills and expertise.

Importance of NHR to Portugal’s Economy

The NHR program significantly contributes to Portugal’s economy. It has successfully boosted the economy and promoted growth by attracting foreign investment and professionals who can contribute to the country’s economic growth. It has particularly attracted skilled professionals, investors, and retirees to Portugal.

Moreover, Portugal is a crypto-friendly country, with no tax on crypto gains held for more than 365 days. This has made the NHR program even more attractive to potential investors and professionals in the digital currency space.

Bright Architecture In Portugal

Advantages of NHR to Foreign Residents

The NHR program offers you numerous advantages. It provides tax savings and exemptions on various types of income, including pensions, capital gains, and rental income. For example, the program offers:

  • A flat tax rate of 20% on qualifying income
  • An exemption from tax on certain types of foreign income
  • A reduced tax rate of 10% for certain types of high-value-added professions.

To be eligible for the NHR program, you must become a tax resident in Portugal and meet specific residency requirements. These include residing in Portugal for more than 183 days per year or owning property there. You’ll also need to obtain a Portuguese Tax Number (NIF) and register as a tax resident in Portugal.

The application process involves applying with the required documents by March 31 of the year after registration as a resident. Keep in mind that the NHR status is non-renewable and lasts for a maximum of ten years. After this period, the standard Portuguese tax rates apply.

With potential changes to the NHR program proposed by the Portuguese government, consulting with specialists or financial advisors is a good idea to ensure you comply with the NHR program requirements and maximize the tax benefits.

Eligibility for the NHR Portugal

Who can Apply for NHR?

The NHR program is accessible to individuals globally, including those from outside the European Union. Suppose you’ve recently established tax residency in Portugal and haven’t held this status in the previous five years. In that case, you might be a suitable candidate for the NHR program. To be considered a tax resident, you must reside in Portugal for over half the year or maintain your primary residence there. Non-EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals may need to secure a residence permit before relocating to Portugal. At the same time, EU citizens can register for residency at their local city hall.

The program caters to a diverse group, including freelancers, retirees, business owners, and other professionals who contribute high cultural or economic value. However, it’s crucial to remember that the NHR program doesn’t grant legal residency in Portugal. It’s a tax status for those who already have the right to live there.

Required documents for NHR Registration

To be eligible for NHR status, you must fulfill legal and tax residency obligations. This includes obtaining an NIF and registering as a tax resident in Portugal. You must apply with the necessary documents by the end of March of the year following your registration as a resident. It’s advisable to consult with specialists or professionals who can provide personalized advice and assist with your NHR application in Portugal.

NHR Application Process

The application process for NHR status involves providing proof of residency, obtaining an NIF, and submitting an application with the required documents. The program offers substantial tax benefits for retirees, with most foreign pension incomes taxed at a flat rate of 10%. It also provides tax incentives for foreign investors, making it an appealing option if you invest in Portugal and benefit from double-taxation treaty agreements.

Your NHR status is valid for a decade. After this period, you’ll be subject to the standard Portuguese tax rates. It’s crucial to stay informed about any updates or changes to the program, as it can evolve over time.

The NHR program is an excellent opportunity if you’re looking to optimize your tax situation while enjoying life in Portugal. However, be mindful of potential changes and deadlines if you consider relocating to Portugal as an NHR. Also, note that the NHR program is not linked to the Golden Visa program, a distinct residency-by-investment program in Portugal.

Tax Benefits of NHR Portugal

Overview of Tax Benefits

The NHR program is a tax incentive initiative that’s designed to attract foreign individuals to become tax residents. This program offers significant tax advantages, including a tax exemption on certain types of foreign income for a period of 10 years. This includes income from dividends, rental earnings, and interest earned outside of Portugal.

Non-Habitual Resident Tax Rates

The NHR program offers a flat income tax rate of 20% on certain types of income for a period of 10 years. This applies to professionals of high cultural and economic worth, such as directors, specialists, and artists.

If you’re receiving pension payments from outside Portugal, they’re taxed at a special rate of 10% under the NHR program. Rental income is taxed at an optional rate of 28% or at standard progressive rates.

Taxes on Local and Foreign Income

With the NHR program, most foreign source income, such as royalties, dividends, and interests, is typically exempt from taxation in Portugal. This allows you to receive some foreign payments completely free of tax. However, it’s important to note that the tax exemption applies to income from foreign sources, depending on the specific double taxation agreement between Portugal and your home country.

Understanding Double Taxation Agreements

Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) are a key part of the NHR program. These agreements allow for the majority of income types to be taxed in the country of the source of income, eliminating double taxation for individuals and companies operating in Portugal. Portugal has signed double tax treaties with numerous countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and many others. These treaties enable offsetting tax paid in one country against the tax payable in the other, preventing double taxation.

To make the most of the NHR program and its tax advantages, it’s a good idea to consult with a tax professional. They can help you explore options and ensure you meet the NHR program requirements. The NHR program has certain conditions and requirements, including establishing tax residency in Portugal and meeting the criteria for non-habitual residency. You should apply for the NHR program before becoming a tax resident in Portugal or within the first six months of becoming one.

Keep in mind that the NHR program typically lasts for ten years, after which you’ll be subject to the same Portuguese tax rates as everyone else. So, it’s important to plan accordingly and make the most of this beneficial program while it lasts.

Waterscape And Boats And Bridge In Portugal

When Does The NHR Program End In Portugal?

The NHR program, a significant magnet for global citizens and investors since its inception, is scheduled to conclude for new applicants in 2024. This decision, announced by the Portuguese Prime Minister, is part of the State Budget Proposal for 2024, with the final vote expected on November 29, 2023.

The termination of the NHR program is perceived as a concession to the Portuguese Communist Party and the Left Bloc. Despite this, existing NHR status holders will retain their benefits for the remainder of their 10-year term. Therefore, if you’re contemplating applying for NHR status, it’s advisable to do so before 2023 concludes to ensure you’re included in the program.

For EU/EEA citizens or those with a residence visa, there’s still an opportunity to establish tax residency in Portugal before 2023 ends. Golden Visa holders who don’t intend to become tax residents are not affected by the NHR program’s termination. However, for those planning a future relocation to Portugal, consider options for establishing tax residency in 2023.

The conclusion of the NHR program could influence Portugal’s housing market, economy, and foreign resident community. It might result in a reduced demand for housing from international buyers and deter foreign investment in Portugal. Nevertheless, Portugal continues to be an appealing destination for wealthy expats due to its high quality of life, year-round sunshine, investment opportunities, and excellent healthcare and education.

Given the NHR tax regime modifications, existing and new applicants should seek professional advice and plan accordingly. If you’re a current NHR status holder, it would be beneficial to consult with a financial and tax planning professional to understand how the termination of the tax status will affect you. If you’re a new applicant wishing to apply for NHR status, ensure that you do so before the December 31, 2023 deadline. The application process for NHR status can be time-consuming, so it’s crucial to act promptly.

The Portuguese government has suggested a new Incentivised Tax Status (ITS) program as a potential successor to the NHR regime.

The ITS program might offer a more restricted range of tax benefits, including a flat 20% tax rate for a decade and a 50% tax exemption on professional income for five years. However, more details on this new program are anticipated to be released in October 2023.

Bright Building And Flag In Portugal


What Happens After Ten Years of NHR in Portugal?

Once the decade-long benefits of the NHR program have been utilized, you’ll transition to the standard tax regulations applicable to Portuguese tax residents.

Current NHR status holders will retain their benefits for the remainder of their 10-year term despite the program’s scheduled conclusion in 2024.

It’s advisable to consult with a financial and tax planning expert to comprehend the implications of terminating the tax status, especially if you don’t plan ahead within the 10-year NHR benefits duration.


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Rihab Saad

Managing Director
Next Generation Equity

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