In order to promote and attract investment, Portugal offers national and foreign investors investment incentives.

Incentives may come as financial incentives, repayable or non-refundable, tax benefits and co-financing. Exceptionally, specific subsidies may also be granted, such as reimbursement of employers’ costs with the training of employees.

The incentives may include:

  • Incentives granted under the «Portugal 2020» programme established through an agreement with EU covering the period 2014-2020;
  • Tax incentives granted under the Investment Tax Code which aim to promote the competitiveness of the Portuguese economy; and 
  • Incentives programmes designed for specific situations, such as the creation of jobs, which may include temporary reductions of the employer’s social security contributions, financial support for hiring young people, unemployed etc. and co-funding of training costs.

The Portuguese Government also set up a system for monitoring, facilitating and reducing bureaucracy in the implementation of projects considered to be of «potential national interest» the so-called «projetos de interesse nacional» or PIN projects.

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The European Commission and Portugal created a partnership for the period from 2014 thru 2020, called «Portugal 2020». EUR 25,000 Million for the project came from European funds.

The Portugal 2020 programme is formed by 16 operational programmes, as well as several territorial cooperation programmes. 

The analysis and selection of applications for the 'Portugal 2020' Program is the responsibility of the Managing Authorities of the Operational Programs.

Portugal 2020 Program has as main goals:

  • To promote the production of tradable goods and services, internationalisation of the economy and qualification of the specialisation profile of the Portuguese economy;
  • To strengthen investment in education, including advanced training;
  • To increase capacity to integrate people at risk of poverty and fighting social exclusion;
  • To promote territorial cohesion and competitiveness, especially in low population density cities; and
  • To support the State reform program, ensuring that community funds contribute to modernise and improve the capacity of the Public Administration, as well as to the reorganise of the models for the provision of public goods and services.

The applications for Portugal 2020 incentives are made through an online platform, Balcão 2020, facilitates the process. Balcão 2020 also contains the applicable laws and regulations, support guidelines and indicates the relevant deadlines for application procedures. 

Portugal 2020 aims to achieve concrete results. As a condition for the approval of the project, the beneficiary must commit to its material and financial execution, as well as to achieve the results negotiated. The achievement of the targets to which the beneficiary is committed is subject to audits and monitoring.

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The Project Recognition and Monitoring System is a monitoring mechanism for projects that are recognised as having potential national interest (Potencial Interesse Nacional, PIN).

The PIN recognition system does not constitute a fund allocation program per se, but a monitoring program for the applications and execution of the investment projects that are benefiting from, or are intended to benefit from the incentives.

For projects to be recognised as PIN’s, they must meet the following cumulative requirements:

  • Represent an overall investment of EUR 25 million or more;
  • Create 50 or more direct jobs; and
  • Be presented by reputable and reliable sponsors.

Exceptionally, projects that meet two of the following criteria may be recognised as PIN, even if they do not meet the first two requirements above:

  • Internal Research and Development (R&D) activity of at least 10% of the company's turnover;
  • Having a significant part of the company connected to a patent developed by the company itself;
  • Noticeable environmental interest;The company has to be heavily connected and interested in export matters, with a minimum of 50% of its turnover directed to international markets; or
  • Outstanding production of tradable goods and services.

For the operationalisation of this system the government created an investment support commission (Comissão Permanente de Apoio ao Investidor, CPAI).

The project sponsor must file an application that fulfils the requirements for PIN recognition, according to a model previously approved by the CPAI.

The recognition of the project as a PIN must take place in a maximum of 30 days from the date of receipt of the application.

To the projects recognised as PIN a process manager, responsible for monitoring the administrative procedures, is assigned.

The recognition of a project as a PIN ensures a priority treatment in the licensing procedures. PIN projects also benefit from a special administrative procedure, which involves:

  • Simultaneous processing of the central government’s administrative procedures;
  • Reduction and simultaneous completion of the internal procedures determined by the administrative authorities that are responsible for issuing the necessary licenses;
  • A single period to consult the relevant administrative procedures;
  • Simplification of the procedures related to the zoning plan instruments relevant to the project;
  • Tacit positive reports and tacit deferral under the various applicable procedures; and
  • Simplification of procedures to obtain construction permits.
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The investment projects that engage in the legally stipulated activities, may, until December 31, 2020, benefit from tax incentives, for a period of up to ten years counting from the completion of the investment project, provided that the amount invested is equal to or greater than three million euros. Such projects regard: (i) extractive and manufacturing industry activities, (ii) tourism, (iii) agricultural and forestry activities, (iv) defence, environment and energy, or (v) research activities.

The tax benefits may include:

  • Tax credits;
  • Reduction or exemption of real estate taxes, such as IMI (Imposto Municipal sobre Imóveis), during the term of the agreement, regarding the buildings used by the project developer when executing the project; and
  • Exemption from stamp duty, regarding all acts or contracts required to carry out the project.

In addition to these tax benefits, municipalities may grant total or partial exemptions from IMI or IMT (Imposto Municipal sobre as Transmissões Onerosas de Imóveis) for specific investments made in the area of ​​the Municipality.

Projects that prove to be technically, economically and financially viable, provide for the creation or maintenance of jobs and fulfil at least one of the following conditions may be granted access to the contractually defined fiscal benefits attributed to productive investment:

  • Be relevant to the strategic development of the national economy;
  • Substantially contribute to the reduction of regional asymmetries; and
  • Contribute to technological innovation and national scientific research, improve the country’s environmental awareness and structures or enhance competitiveness and productivity.

To access these benefits the investor has to submit an electronic application to one of the State investment agencies, AICEP or IAPMEI.

The investment incentives may be withdrawn:

  • If the project developer fails to comply with the contractually defined obligations;
  • If the project developer doesn't fulfil his/hers/its tax obligations; or
  • If the project developer provides false information about his/hers or the project’s situation or presents tampered data in the presentation, appraisal and monitoring of projects.

The termination of the contract will cause the loss of the tax benefits and the obligation to pay back the uncollected tax revenues plus interest.

Tax incentives may be granted to business research and development, which allows CIT taxpayers with residence in Portugal engaged in agricultural, industrial, commercial and services activities or non-residents with a permanent business establishment in the territory to deduct from the amount of CIT collection the amount corresponding to research and development expenditure in the part that has not received outright financial contribution from the State, and provided that it is carried out in the taxation periods between January 2014 and the end of 2020.

To qualify for the tax deductions mentioned above, investors must meet the following conditions cumulatively:

  • The taxable profit is not determined by indirect methods; and
  • The applicant cannot have any unpaid State and Social Security taxes or contributions.

Investment incentives must have one of these forms:

  • A contract between the State and the investor, designated by contractual incentives;
  • Autonomous incentives, depending on specific situations that are supposed to be protected; or
  • Assignment conceded by State funded programs.
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Relevant legislation

Investment Tax Code [Portuguese Only]

Decree-Law 76/2011 that creates the Projects of National Interest Support Mechanism [Portuguese Only]

Decree-Law 154/2013 that establishes a Permanent Commission for PIN Projects Investors Support [Portuguese Only]

 

Useful links

Portuguese Investment Agency (AICEP Portugal Global)

«Portugal 2020» Official Website

 

Important notice

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We are used to working on all aspects of corporate and commercial law. We act regularly in domestic and cross-border transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, financings and foreign investments.

We can assist you in:

  • Negotiuating investment incentves
  • State aid implications and approvals
  • Setting up and registering a branch or a corporation
  • Negotiating investment agreements

If you have any question or wish us to provide a budget, please contact us to: whyportugal@macedovitorino.com

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