2021-05-20

The General Data Protection Regulation is directly applicable in all EU Member States since May 25, 2018 and it has certainly been the most significant global development in data protection laws across all EU Member States since the "Data Protection Directive".
The GDPR has a global scope, as businesses based outside the EU that offer goods or services to individuals in the EU may be required to comply with the GDPR.
The risk of fines up to 4% of annual worldwide turnover or €20 million is surely a strong incentive for companies to comply with the GDPR.
For entities to better comply with the GDPR, we present and analize a seven step plan detailing the main aspects of the GDPR that companies need to take.
Some of these steps include: (i) maping all your data by organizing data audits within your company's departments in order to understand the personal data held by your company and how your company can manage and protect data; (ii) reviewing your privacy policies, individuals’ consents, contracts throught the procedures to confirm whether individuals make use of their privacy rights; (iii) appointing a single DPO or making individual appointments for each legal entity and/or jurisdiction; (iv) training your employees and staring by reviewing and updating your internal policies and technical measures with your company's IT team to fulfil the privacy “by design” and the privacy “by default”. And, of course, reviewing your security measures, as well as (v) reviewing your current international data transfers and understanding if they will be justified under the GDPR. Consider adopting a data transfer key-solution with your legal team.
These are just some of the measures we propose and carefully explain in this study to better help your company fulfill the GDPR's requirements. 

2021-05-19

In the current context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), several businesses face the possibility of not being able to pay their debts in the short or medium term, because of cash-flow problems generated by the worldwide implementation of restrictive pandemic response measures.

As stated by the International Monetary Fund, this crisis is not simply about liquidity, but primarily about solvency, at a time when large segments of the global economy have come to a complete stop.

Tourism, non-food retail, automotive and components, textile/clothing, consumer durables and leisure and cultural activities are the most affected sectors. Other sectors, such as construction and real estate, which were developing positively in 2019 and in the beginning of 2020, have also suffer a reversal in the previously upward trend of their activity, namely from the second trimester of 2020 onwards.

To mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19, the Portuguese Government approved a set of legal, financial, and regulatory measures to protect businesses and individuals negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The measures implemented can be generally divided into four categories:

(i) Financial measures – moratorium on credits and financial incentives;

(ii) Tax and contributory measures;

(iii) Employment measures – simplified lay-off regime and extraordinary training plan;

(iv) Real estate measures – moratorium on rents.

A summary of these measures is detailed below.

1. FINANCING

1.1. Moratorium on loans
Measures
  • Prohibition to cancel, in whole or in part, the credit facilities and loans granted on or before March 27, 2020. Banks and other financing entities cannot refuse financing already approved before that date;
  • Extension of bullet loans in force on or before March 27, 2020, including interest, guarantees or any other associated costs;
  • For other loans in force on or before March 27, 2020 it is suspended the payment of capital, rents, guarantees. The contractual payment plan for the instalments of capital, rent, interest, commissions, and other charges is automatically extended for a period identical to that of the suspension. There are no charges other than those that may arise from the variability of the contracted reference interest rate.
Who can benefit?

SMEs with headquarters and economic activity in Portugal, if they are not in one of the following situations:

  • In default to financial institutions for more than 90 days on January 1, 2021 and not meeting the materiality threshold established in the Bank of Portugal’s Notice 2/2019 and Regulation (EU) 2018/1845 of the European Central Bank of 21 November 2018;
  • Suspension or termination of other payments;
  • Insolvency;
  • Subject to enforcement proceedings;
  • Debt to Tax Authority or to Social Security over EUR 5,000.00, in the absence of a negotiation process for debt regularization.

The sole owners of businesses, charities and non-profit organizations may also be eligible for loan moratorium measures, if they have their home office in Portugal.

Credit operations granted by credit institutions, financing, leasing, factoring and mutual guarantee companies, as well as credit institution branches operating in Portugal are covered by the financial measures described.

Duration

The deadline for joining the moratorium was 31 March 2021. The duration of the moratoriums has been extended but each moratorium cannot last more than nine months following the date of the adhesion communication.

Where can you read more about these measures?

Covid-19: Moratorium on credits

1.2. Financial incentive programs
Measures
  • According to IAPMEI, the instalments of refundable incentives due until September 30, 2020 can be deferred for 12 months, without interest charges or any other penalty. This deferment is also applicable to future instalments regarding settlement plans, within the scope of QREN and QCAIII incentive system projects and to the reimbursement plans established until the closing of these programs projects;
  • Eligibility of the expenses incurred with cancelled or postponed initiatives or events presented in projects approved by Portugal 2020 Program and other funding programs;
  • Evaluation of the negative impacts of Covid-19 in case of insufficient enforcement of actions or objectives established in the Portugal 2020 Program benefit agreements;
  • Creation of “Capitalizar – Covid-19” credit line, worth EUR 400 million, to support companies that have seen their activity affected by the pandemic. Capitalizar – Covid-19 is aimed at companies with a decreasing of sales by at least 20% in the 60 days preceding the submission of the application to the line of credit (compared to the same period last year).
  • The “Programa Apoiar”, which consists of cash assistance in the form of a non-refundable subsidy, was also amended to: (i) Reinforce the support to entities with a turnover breakdown higher than 50% (''Apoiar + Simples''); (ii) Raise the maximum support limits to EUR 7,500 for individual entrepreneurs, EUR 18,750 for micro enterprises, EUR 103,125 for small enterprises and EUR 253,125 for medium and large enterprises; (iii) Include, as beneficiaries, businesses directly affected by the mandatory suspension and closure of their facilities and establishments, such as the case of tourism, events organization and catering sectors; (iv) Include as eligible entities to apply to the incentive programs "Apoiar + Simples" and “Apoiar Rendas", the individual entrepreneurs without organized accounts and regardless of hiring employees, and extent the scope of the eligible contracts to contracts whose purpose include the use/exploitation of real estate other than lease contracts.
  • Creation of the COVID-19 liquidity support line for micro and small tourism businesses, worth EUR 140 million, to include, namely, land transport activities that prove to be mainly intended for tourism.
Who can benefit?
  • Companies that have their headquarters and carry out their economic activity in Portugal. Companies with debts to the Tax Authority or the Social Security are not eligible;

  • The credit lines are also available for sectors strongly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as tourism, restauration, and the industrial sector, for instance, textiles and footwear.
Duration

Depends on the incentive program.

2. TAX

2.1. Reimbursement of special payments on account
Measures

Full refund of special payments on account regarding the tax periods between 2014 and 2019, not deduced until the tax return for 2019.

Who can benefit?

Micro, small, and medium companies and cooperatives.

Duration

Until the end of January 2021 or until the end of the sixth month following the deadline for submitting the periodic tax return (in which case the 2019 tax period will be different from the calendar year).

2.2. Obligation to submit tax return statement form number 22 (Corporate Income Tax – “CIT”)
Measures

The obligations to submit the tax return statement form number 22 for the 2020 tax period and respective payment may be fulfilled until 30 June 2021.

Who can benefit?

Taxpayers subject to Corporate Income Tax.

2.3. Compliance with IES/Annual tax declaration filing
Measures

From January 1, 2021, the IES/annual tax declaration can be submitted through the Taxpayers Website.

Who can benefit?

All taxpayers who have an obligation to submit IES/Annual tax declaration.

2.4. Payment in instalments of PIT and CIT debts
Measures

PIT debts equal to or less than EUR 5,000.00 and CIT debts equal to or less than EUR 10,000.00 can be paid in installments, without any additional guarantee from the taxpayer.

  • In the voluntary payment phase;
  • If there are no other debts to the Tax Authority; and
  • If the debt is due until December 31, 2020.
Who can benefit?

Taxpayers with PIT debts equal to or less than EUR 5,000.00, and taxpayers with CIT debts equal or less than EUR 10,000.00.

2.5. Deferral of submission and payment of periodic VAT returns
Measures

Monthly VAT declarations to be submitted in May, June and July 2021, and quarterly VAT declarations to be submitted in May 2021, can be filed until the 20th of each month, and the corresponding payment can be made until the 25th of each month.

Who can benefit?

All taxable persons with obligation to submit periodic VAT declarations.

2.6. Deferral of VAT delivery in the first semester of 2021
Measures

In the first semester of 2021, the VAT payment in the monthly regime can take place until the end of the period for voluntary payment or in three- or six-monthly instalments equal to or greater than EUR 25,00, without interest or collateral.

Who can benefit?

Taxpayers:

  • With a turnover of up to 2 million euros, computed in 2019;

  • Who started or restarted their activity on or after January 1, 2020;

  • With a turnover decrease of at least 25% in the monthly average of the full 2020 calendar, compared to the same period of the previous year

Measures

In the first half of 2021, the quarterly VAT payment can be made until the end of the period for voluntary payment or in three- or six-monthly instalments equal to or greater than EUR 25,00, without interest or collaterals.

Who can benefit?

Taxpayers covered by the quarterly regime.

2.7. Cessation of the Suspension of Deadlines in Tax Justice
Measures

Cessation of the regime of suspension of procedural deadlines, namely in the diligences to be carried out in the scope of processes and procedures which are underway in the judicial courts, administrative and tax courts, Constitutional Court, Court of Auditors and other jurisdictional bodies, arbitration courts, Public Prosecutor's Office, justice of the peace courts, alternative dispute resolution entities and tax enforcement bodies.

Who can benefit?

All taxable.

2.8. VAT Refunds
Measures

Entitlement to a refund of 50% of the VAT incurred and not deductible for expenses regarding the organization of congresses, fairs, exhibitions, seminars, conferences, and similar activities.

Who can benefit?

Until December 31, 2021.

Where can you read more about these measures?

Covid-19: Fiscal support measures

Covid-19: Moratorium on bank credits

3. EMPLOYMENT-RELATED MATTERS

3.1. Simplified lay-off (extraordinary support for keeping employment contracts)
Who can benefit?

Employers (private employers), which have no debts before the Tax Authority or the Social Security and meet one of the following conditions: suspension of activities and the total or partial closure of the company or the establishment resulting from a legal or administrative measure; total or partial stop page of the activity of the company or establishment exceeding 40% in the month prior to the application, resulting in the interruption of global supply chains, or suspension or cancellation and orders, in situations where more than half of the previous year's invoicing has been made to activities or sectors currently suspended/terminated by legislative or administrative determination of a government source.

For situations where employers access the simplified lay-off, members and statutory bodies should use support to maintain the employment contract, provided that they comply with the following requirements:

  • Exercise of management functions;
  • Existence of remuneration statements and records of social security contributions; and
  • Have employees in charge.
Measures
  • Financial support equivalent to 70% of 2/3 of the normal gross remuneration, up to EUR 1,905; the remaining 30% are taken by the employer;
  • This financial support can be added by a training scholarship, with a maximum amount of EUR 131,64 (half of which to be granted to the employee and the remaining to the employer);
  • Allocation of retributive compensation to the employee corresponding to 100% of his/her ordinary gross remuneration, with a limit of 3 times the statutory minimum monthly salary (3 x EUR 635);
  • During the application of the simplified lay off, the employer is exempt from payment of social security contributions on the part of the employer for all remuneration (remuneration for work and retaxing compensation) paid to employees covered by the support, maintaining the contribution of 11% for the employee.
Employer's duties

During the lay-off period and in the following 60 days, the employer may not terminate employment contracts under the arrangements of collective dismissal or dismissal for termination of the job in relation to any employees.

The employer keeps the duty of punctual performance of the retributive obligations due to employees and may not distribute dividends during the term of the obligations arising from the granting of the incentive, in any form, in particular as a withdrawal on account.

Duration

Up to one month. It may be extended monthly while remaining the mandatory closure of the activity.

3.2. Extraordinary professional training measures
Who can benefit?

Companies facing a business crisis and not benefiting from the simplified lay-off.

Measures

The financial support is granted depending on the training hours for each employee and is limited to 50% of the employee’s gross salary with a maximum limit of EUR 635.

Employers who have used support for the training of employees, and whose plan has been approved by the IEFP, but not initiated due to the suspension of face-to-face training activities, may initiate them no more than 5 working days after the end of the suspension.

Duration

One-month.

3.3. Extraordinary incentive to normalize the activity
Who can benefit?

Companies restarting their activity, if they have benefited from the simplified lay-off scheme or the extraordinary training plan.

Measures
  • Support in the amount of a statutory minimum monthly salary (EUR 635), paid at once, per employee covered by the simplified lay-off or the extraordinary training plan;
  • Support in the amount of two statutory minimum monthly salaries (EUR 1,270), paid in two instalments over six months, per employee covered by the simplified lay-off or extraordinary training plan;
  • Partial exemption of 50% of the payment of social security contributions borne by the employer in addition to the inventive of EUR 1,270;
  • Full exemption from contributions by companies for two months provided that fixed-term employment contracts are signed within three months after the incentive grant, and from which result a net increase of the employment level;

Duration

No deadline. Companies may request the incentive before or after the end of the simplified lay-off or the extraordinary training plan.

3.4. Extraordinary support for the progressive resumption of activity in companies in business crisis situations
Who can access it?

Employers (private companies) with an invoicing breakdown equal to or higher than 25% in a situation of business crisis and that have no debts before the Social Security and the Tax Authority; self-employed persons who are employers; and members of statutory bodies.

Measures
  • T-Temporary reduction of the normal working period of employees, and members of the statutory bodies with management functions and included in the company’s payroll statements;
  • According to the invoicing breakdown, the normal working period may be reduced up to the following limits: (i) Invoicing breakdown => 25%, the normal working period may be reduced up to 33%; (ii) Invoicing breakdown => 40%, the normal working period may be reduced up to 40%; (iii) Invoicing breakdown => 60%, the normal working period may be reduced up to 60%; (iv) In the case of an employer with an invoicing breakdown => 75%, the reduction of the PNT, per employee, can be a maximum of: (100% in the middle of July and August 2021, up to a limit of 75% of employees, or, alternatively, up to 75%, and in this case may apply the reduction to all employees at their service;

    During the month of July and August, if the company's activity falls within the sectors of bars, discos, recreational parks and the supply or assembly of events, with companies covered by ordinance of the members of the Government responsible for the areas of the economy, finance and social security, namely through the respective Portuguese Classification of Economic Activities, reduce the PNT up to a maximum of 100%, in this case it may apply the reduction to all employees at its service. (v) Invoicing breakdown =>70%, the normal working period may be reduced from 75% to 100%.

  • Financial support to employers for exclusively paying compensation to employees covered by a reduction of their normal working period. This financial support corresponds to the missing hours in the amount of 4/5 of the gross salary;
  • Payment of 70% of compensation by the Social Security. The remaining 30% is to be borne by the employer;
  • Payment of 100% of compensation by the Social Security, in situations where the reduction of the normal working period exceeds 60% and the invoicing breakdown is higher than 75%;
  • Additional support for companies with an invoicing breakdown equal to or higher than 75%. The Social Security bears 35% of the normal gross salary in consideration for the hours worked by and due to each employee covered by the reduction of the normal working period;
  • Increase in compensation to ensure the employee's normal gross salary up to EUR 1,995.
  • Partial exemption from payment of Social Security contributions by the employer as to employees covered by the incentive scheme.
  • Employers in the tourism and culture sector apply to specific rules according to the billing breach: (i) For situations of Employer a with a break in the invoicing of less than 75%, and which, as a result, bears part of the retaxing compensation corresponding to the costs of unworked hours, the right is granted the exemption of the payment of contributions to its charge (as an employer); (ii) For situations of Employer with break age and billing equal to or greater than 75% is granted the right to partial exemption of 50% of the payment of contributions to your charge (as employer).

In both situations (i and ii), the exemption concerns only the employees concerned and is calculated on the value of the retaxing compensation.

Employer's duties

During the period of reduction of the normal working period, the employer must make the payment of the retaxing compensation on time.

The employer may not increase the remuneration or other equity benefit attributed to members of corporate bodies, while social security participates in the retributive compensation to be attributed to employees.

During the reduction period, as well as within the following 60 days, the employer may not:

  • To terminate employment contracts under collective dismissal, dismissal for termination of the job or dismissal for inadaptation;
  • Distribute dividends in any form, in particular as a withdrawal on account.

Micro-enterprises benefiting from simplified support for the maintenance of jobs may not terminate, during the period of granting support, as well as within the following 90 days, collective redundancy employment contracts, dismissal for termination of the job and dismissal for inadaptation, or initiate their procedures.

Duration

One calendar month. Month-to-month extension until September 30, 2021.

3.5. New incentive to normalize business activity
Who can benefit

Employers who meet the following assumptions:

  • They have requested simplified lay-off or support for the gradual resumption of activity;
  • They requested one of the support in the first quarter of 2021.
Measures
  • Extraordinary incentive to standardize the activity allocated by an employee covered by one of the support measures (simplified lay-off or support for the progressive resumption of activity);
  • Number of employees of the company measured by reference to the month prior to the submission of the application;
  • Limit on the number of employees: employees covered by the simplified lay-off or support for progressive recovery.
  • Benefit for companies can be one of two: (i) Employer, who requires support by 31 May 2021, benefits a value of 2 minimum monthly salaries guaranteed, in a phased manner over six months, with reference to the number of employees covered. This support is added to the exemption from payment of Social Security contributions borne by the employer during the first two months of incentive; Payment of the second installment is conditional on the fulfillment of the legal obligations to which the Employer is obliged for the purposes of the new incentive; (ii) Employer, who requires support by 31 May 2021, benefits a value of 2 minimum monthly salaries guaranteed, in a phased manner over six months, with reference to the number of employees covered. This support is added to the exemption from payment of Social Security contributions borne by the employer during the first two months of incentive;
Employer's duties

Employers receiving support are obliged to:

  • Maintenance, proven, of the regularization of contributory and tax situations;
  • Prohibition of assignment, during the period of granting support and within 90 days of employment contracts by: (i) collective dismissal; (ii) dismissal for termination of the job; and (iii) dismissal for inadaptation;
  • Prohibition of initiating procedures and any of the dismissals (collective, redundancy and inadaptation);
  • Maintenance of the level of employment in the month preceding the application for standardization support, during the period of granting the support and within 90 days.

The new support cannot be cumulated at the same time with:

  • Simplified lay-off;
  • Extraordinary support for the gradual resumption of activity; and
  • Traditional lay-off.
Form of calculation
  • The new incentive provides a set of cumulative rules to be applied for the purposes of calculating the number of employees to be paid the incentive: (i) the number of employees of the employer in the calendar month preceding the submission of the application for the new incentive ; (ii) the maximum limit of employees covered by the new support: employees who have benefited from support for the maintenance of employment contracts or extraordinary support for recovery in the last 30 consecutive days of its application, taking into account the number of employees in the last month in which the Employer received one of these support; and (iii) employees must have been covered by one of those supports in 2021 at least 30 days until 15 May.
How to apply for the new incentive
  • Employer must request the new incentive through its own form available on the IEFP website;
  • Employer must add to the form a set of necessary documents: (i) Declaration of non-existence of debt or authorization for online consultation of the contributory and tax situation before social security and the Tax and Customs Authority (AT); and (ii) Acceptance term, with indication of IBAN, according to a model made available by the IEFP, I. P.
  • The application must be submitted after the last day of application of support for the maintenance of the employment contract or extraordinary support, in accordance with the situation applicable to the Employer.
Employer's additional rights

The Employer who accesses the support has the possibility to give up support, after three months, and to request after that support for the gradual resumption of activity.

 

The Employer who gives up the support does not need to return the amounts already received but is only entitled to the incentive in the amount of a minimum monthly remuneration guaranteed by work and exemption and 50% of social security contributions in the first two months of the incentive.

For the purposes of verifying the duty to maintain the level of employment, they do not take into account situations in which the variation in the level of employment results from the transfer of establishment, part of the establishment or equivalent, where at the same time there is a guarantee, legal or conventional, of the maintenance by the purchaser of the contract of employment transmitted

3.6. Support for the reduction of economic activity of self-employed
Who can benefit

Self-employed workers whose activities are framed within the tourism, culture, and events and shows sectors can benefit from the economic activity reduction support until August 31st.

In order to access the support, they must be in a situation of total cessation of activity or have a drop in invoicing of more than 40%.
The drop in invoicing in the period of 30 days prior to the request, with reference to the monthly average of the two months prior to this period, or in relation to the same period of the previous year or even, for those who have started activity less than 12 months ago, the average of this period. The employee must hold a certificate from a certified accountant attesting to this.

Where can you read more about these measures?

Covid-19: New benefits for employees and businesses

Covid-19: the return of mandatory remote work

Covid-19: “AERP” Flexibility

Covid 19: New "Simplified Lay-Off"

Covid-19: Absence from work

Covid-19: New extraordinary measures

Covid-19: Fast track lay-off

Covid-19: Privacy in time of pandemic – taking employees’ temperatures?

Covid-19: New social protection policies

Covid-19: New measures to support resuming work

Covid-19: Simplified Lay-off and incentives to normalize the activity

Covid-19: Extraordinary financial incentive to normalize business activity

4. REAL ESTATE

4.1. Termination of lease contracts
Measures
  • Suspension of early termination of leases by landlords;
  • Suspension of the expiry of leases at the end of the relevant period (unless accepted by the tenants);
  • Suspension of cancellations and oppositions to the renewal of leases made by the landlord;
  • Suspension of foreclosures of mortgages on the personal and permanent residence of taxable individuals.
Who can benefit?

Tenants of commercial lease agreements and housing lease agreements.

Duration

Until June 30, 2021, at most.

4.2. Payment of rents
Measures

Deferral of the rent payment schedule.

Who can benefit?

Tenants of housing leases who meet the following conditions:

  • A decrease of more than 20% in the tenant's household income compared to February 2020, the previous month, or the same period of the previous year; and/or
  • A household effort rate of 35% or more for the tenant, based on the percentage of the income of all members in the household.

Tenants of non-residential rental contracts under the following conditions:

  • Closure or restriction of activity due to Covid-19 mitigation and containment measures; and
  • The debt settlement period will begin on January 1, 2022 and will last until December 31, 2023. The regularization will be made in 24 successive instalments, paid simultaneously with the rent of the current month.
Duration

Until July 1, 2021, at most.

4.3. Financial Aid
Measures
  • Outright grants;
  • Credit lines.
Who can benefit?

Tenants of housing leases:

Interest-free loan to cover the payment of rent due up to a maximum effort rate of 35%, granted by the Portuguese Institute for Housing and Urban Rehabilitation (IHRU – Instituto da Habitação e da Reabilitação Urbana).

Landlords of housing leases:

Interest-free loan to compensate the monthly rent, due and unpaid, whenever there is a drop of more than 20% in the landlord's household income compared to the previous month or the same period of the previous year, paid by IHRU.

Tenants of commercial lease contracts:

  • Outright grants of 30% of the rent up to EUR1,200 per month, for tenants with a turnover decrease between 25% and 40% in 2020;
  • Outright grants of 50% of the rent up to EUR 2,000 per month, for tenants with a turnover decrease higher than 40% in 2020.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in sectors particularly affected by Covid-19 mitigation measures:

  • Cash support through an outright grant of 30% of the rent up to EUR1,200 per month, and by establishment, for 6 months, for tenants with a turnover decrease between 25% and 40%;
  • Outright grants of 50% of the rent up to EUR 2,000 per month, and by establishment, for 6 months, for tenants with a turnover decrease higher than 40%.

Tenants of shopping centers lease contracts:

  • Proportional reduction of the fixed or minimum monthly remuneration due, up to a limit of 50% of the monthly remuneration, when such establishments have a decrease in their monthly turnover compared to the turnover of the same month of 2019 or, if not possible, the average turnover of the last six months preceding the first declaration of the state of emergency, or for a shorter period, if applicable.
 Duration

Variable depending on the financial support.

Where can you read more about these measures?

Covid-19: payment of rents may be postponed
Covid-19: lease agreements regulatory update

2021-02-02
Portugal has been one of the most enthusiastic countries regarding renewable energies.
Investment in solar projects in Portugal is expected to ramp up in the next decade and the country will most likely reach its target of 31% of renewable energy consumption in 2030.
Considering the expected development of photovoltaic projects in Portugal, this guide provides an overview of the relevant project licensing proceedings for the construction and operation of the power plants.
 
To learn more about the Portuguese investment on solar projects read the pdf. 
2021-01-26

Guarantees of Origin (GO) are electronic documents that prove the final electricity purchaser that a certain amount or percentage of the electricity supplied originates from green sources.

The GO system is being implemented in all European Union Member States to foster of use of energy from renewable sources, in Portugal, despite its early planning (since 2012), the GOs system took some time to be established and the first Portuguese GO was only issued in June 2020.

Open the pdf to learn more about the Portuguese Guarantees of Origin.

2020-12-04

In 1993, Portugal had no backbone high pressure natural gas pipeline, storage and other infrastructures. From 1993 onwards, such infrastructures were built, and natural gas became one of the most important sources of energy used in Portugal.

According to 2020’s most recent data, the natural gas market has been witnessing an increase in consumption of 7.2% since last year.

Until 2006 the promotion of natural gas and the development of the system’s main infrastructures were handled by the Galp group companies, Transgás – Sociedade Portuguesa de Gás Natural, S.A. (“Transgás”) and GDP – Gás de Portugal, SGPS, S.A. (“GDP”), under concession agreements entered into with the Portuguese State.

The public service concession for the import, transmission and supply of natural gas through the high-pressure pipeline, was granted to Transgás, and the public service concession for the distribution of natural gas through regional pipeline networks, was granted to six different companies, held by the GDP group.

Most importantly, Decree-Law no. 30/2006 of 15 February 2006 (“Gas System Law”) transposed Directive 2003/55/EC, implementing in Portugal the common rules for the EU internal market.

The Gas System Law established (i) a National Natural Gas Distribution Network (RNDGN), licensed or licensed to several operators, to guarantee non-discriminatory and transparent access to the network infrastructures of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and RNDGN terminals, (ii) the legal unbundling between the network and infrastructure operators of the National Natural Gas System (SNGN) and the marketers, and (iii) the natural gas supplier and the last resort supplier.

The Gas System Law principles were specified by Decree-Law 140/2006, of 26 July 2006 (“Gas Regulatory Law”), with new rules regarding transmission, LNG facilities’ storage, and distribution and supply services.

As a result of these changes, the natural gas sector was unbundled, and is currently divided into several activities, each one with different operators. Thus, the sector is structured in (i) reception, (ii) storage and regasification, (iii) underground storage, (iv) transmission, (v) distribution, and (vi) supply.

With this briefing, we intend to present an overview on the functioning and organization of the different activities of the Portuguese Natural Gas Sector, as well as on the main players that operate on the market.

2020-11-12

In March 2018, ANACOM published its first consultation on the process for awarding spectrum licenses for 5G.

ANACOM'S intention was to issue 5G licenses by September 2020, which meant the public consultation on the auction should have ended in March. However, as the process was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the consultation phase resumed on June 1st with the final version being approved only at the beggining of November.

 

Open the PDF to know more about the Portuguese 5G auction regulation under consultation. 

2020-07-09

In the current context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), it is likely that several businesses will be unable to pay outgoings due to severe cash-flow shortages in the coming months.

According to official data, the sectors of tourism, non-food retail, automotive and components, textile/clothing, consumer durables and leisure and cultural activities will be the most affected by the crisis caused by Covid-19 in Portugal.

The measures implemented can be generally divided into four categories: (i) financial measures - moratorium on credits and financial incentive measures; (ii) tax and contributory measures; (iii) employment - simplified lay-off regime and extraordinary training plan;  and (iv) real estate – moratorium on rents.

The purpose of this briefing is to provide an overview of insolvency proceedings for Portuguese companies, so that creditors and other stakeholders may understand some of the restructuring and insolvency solutions for facing cash-flow difficulties due to Covid-19 and, particularly, in a scenario beyond Covid-19.

2020-07-02

In the current context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), it is likely that several businesses will be unable to pay outgoings due to severe cash-flow shortages.

As stated by International Monetary Fund, this crisis is not simply about liquidity, but primarily about solvency at a time when large segments of the global economy have come to a complete stop.

Sectors of tourism, non-food retail, automotive and components, textile/clothing, consumer durables and leisure and cultural activities will be the most affected by this crisis. Other sectors, such as construction and real estate, which were developing positively in 2020, will also suffer a reversal in the upward trend of their activity.

In seeking to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19, the Portuguese Government approved crisis containment measures – legal, financial, and regulatory – to protect businesses (and individuals) negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measures implemented can be generally divided into four categories: (i) financial measures - moratorium on credits and financial incentive measures; (ii) tax and contributory measures; (iii) employment - simplified lay-off regime and extraordinary training plan;  and (iv) real estate – moratorium on rents. A summary of these measures is detailed below.

1. Financing

1.1. Moratorium on loans

Measures

  • It is prohibited to cancel, in whole or in part, the credit facilities and loans granted on or before 27 March 2020, during the period in which the measure is in force. Banks and other financing entities cannot refuse financing that had already been approved;
  • For bullet loans in force on or before 27 March 2020, extension of the maturity as well as of any ancillary obligations, including interest and guarantees, namely provided through insurance or in securities;
  • For other loans in force on or before 27 March 2020, suspension of payment of instalments, rents, guarantees and interest and automatic extension of the payments schedule. The contractual payment plan for the instalments of capital, rent, interest, commissions, and other charges will be automatically extended for a period identical to that of the suspension. There are no charges other than those that may arise from the variability of the contracted reference interest rate.

Who can benefit?

SMEs that have their headquarters and carry out their economic activity in Portugal and that, as of 18 March 2020, were not in:

  • Default of cash payments towards financial institutions for more than 90 days or, if they were, did not meet the materiality threshold established in the Bank of Portugal’s Notice 2/2019 and Regulation (EU) 2018/1845 of the European Central Bank of 21 November 2018;
  • An insolvency, suspension, or cessation of payments situation or subject to an enforcement proceeding;
  • Default towards the Tax Authority and the Social Security.

Sole owners of businesses, charities and non-profit organizations may also be eligible.

The financing covered by this measure applies to credit operations granted by credit institutions, financing, leasing, factoring and mutual guarantee companies, as well as branches of credit institution with operating in Portugal

Duration

Until 31 March 2021.

1.2. Financial incentive programs

Measures

  • According to IAPMEI, requests for incentive reimbursement submitted by companies will be settled as soon as possible, using, if necessary, a transitional upfront payment up to 80% of the incentive;
  • Extension (for 12 months) and without interest, of the repayment term of loans granted under QREN or Portugal 2020, in situations of decrease in turnover or reserves or orders over 20% in the two months prior to the request for modification of the repayment plan, compared to the same period in the previous year;
  • Eligibility of the expenses incurred with cancelled or postponed initiatives or events, foreseen in projects approved by Portugal 2020 and other funding programs;
  • Consideration of the negative impacts of Covid-19 in case of insufficient implementation of actions or objectives established in the grant agreements of Portugal 2020;
  • Extraordinary financial incentive to ensure the normalization phase, to prevent the risk of unemployment and the maintenance of jobs (up to one minimum wage per employee);
  • Strengthening of the response capacity of IAPMEI and of Turismo de Portugal for the assistance to the impact caused by Covid-19;
  • The “Capitalizar” Financial Facility – Covid-19 was created, worth EUR 200 million, to support companies whose activity is affected by the economic effects resulting from the outbreak. This Financial Facility is aimed at companies whose sales have decreased by at least 20% in the last 60 days (compared to the same period last year) preceding the submission of the application to this Financial Facility;
  • Extension of the deadline for the submission of applications to calls under “Portugal 2020” incentive program.

Who can benefit?

  • Companies that have their headquarters and carry out their economic activity in Portugal. They cannot also have debts to the Tax Authority and the Social Security;
  • These credit lines are also available for sectors strongly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as tourism, restauration, and the industrial sector, for instance, textiles and footwear.

Duration

Depending on the incentive program.

Where can you read more about these measures?

Covid-19: Moratorium on credits

Covid-19: Extension of the moratorium on bank credits

2. Tax

2.1. Deferral of the deadlines of the special payment on account, corporate income tax (CIT) and payment on account

Measures

Deferral of the deadline regarding the first instalment of the special payment on account – which should be made in March – to 30 June 2020, with no penalty.

Who can benefit?

Companies subject to special payment on account.

Duration

Until 30 June 2020.

Measures

Deferral of the deadline for submission of the CIT return (“Modelo 22”) for the 2019 tax period from 31 May 2020 to 31 July 2020, with no penalty.

Who can benefit?

Companies subject to Corporate Income Tax.

Duration

Until 31 July 2020.

Measures

Deferral of the deadline regarding the 1st instalment of the payment on account and the 1st instalment of the additional payment on account – which should be made in July – to 31 August 2020, with no penalty.

Who can benefit?

Companies subject to payment on account and additional payment on account.

Duration

Until 31 August 2020.

2.2. Deferral of delivery of VAT and withholding taxes

Measures

Payment of VAT and CIT and personal income tax (PIT) withholdings in three- or six-monthly instalments, interest free.

Who can benefit?

  • Companies with a turnover up to EUR 10 million in 2019;
  • Companies that have started their activity as of 1 January 2019 or that operate in closed sectors;
  • Companies that have been closed under the emergency state decree;
  • Companies with a drop above 20% of turnover compared to the average of the 3 months prior to the month of the obligation, compared to the same period of the previous year;
  • Self-employed individuals.
2.3. Deferral of the social security contributions

Measures

Companies may only pay a third of the total amount of the Social Security contributions in March, April, and May 2020. The remaining two thirds will be deferred to the 2nd semester of 2020, paid through a three or six-monthly instalments plan, without interest. The remaining two thirds will be paid in equal and successive instalments in July, August, and September 2020 or from July to December 2020.

Who can benefit?

  • Companies with a turnover up to EUR 10 million in 2018;
  • Companies that have started their activity as of 1 January 2019 or that operate in closed sectors;
  • Companies that have been closed under the emergency state decree;
  • Companies with a drop above 20% of turnover compared to the average of the three months prior to the month of the obligation, compared to the same period of the previous year.

Duration

July, August, and September 2020 or from July to December 2020.

Where can you read more about these measures?

Covid-19: Fiscal support measures

3. Employment-related matters

3.1. Simplified lay-off (employment contracts may be suspended, or the normal working period can be reduced)

Measures

  • Financial support granted by the social security to companies adhering to simplified lay-off, equivalent to 70% of 2/3 of the employee’s gross salary up to EUR 1,905; the remaining 30% being borne by the employer;
  • This financial support can be added by a training scholarship, with a maximum amount of EUR 131,64 (half of which to be granted to the employee and the remaining part to the employer);
  • If the normal working period is reduced to more than 66% of the normal period (for example, the employee works 80% of the normal working period), the employee receives the number of hours worked (80%), but the Social Security only contributes up to 2/3 (66%) of the salary;

During the lay-off period and in the following 60 days, the employer may not terminate employment contracts by way of collective dismissal nor redundancy of the job position.

Who can benefit?

Employers, which fulfil one of the following conditions:

  • Total or partial closure of the company or the establishment resulting from statutory close of facilities and establishments;
  • Total shutdown of the company or the establishment activity resulting from the interruption of global supply chains, suspension, or cancellation of orders or reservations;
  • Abrupt and steep drop of at least 40% of the turnover in the period of 30 days prior to the filing of the company’s application with the social security services, with reference to the monthly average turnover of the two months prior to this period or comparing to the equivalent last year’s  month.

The employer may not be in default towards the Tax Authority and the Social Security.

Duration

One-month, monthly renewable up to six months.

3.2. Extraordinary professional training measures

Measures

The financial support is granted depending on the training hours for each employee and is limited to 50% of the employee’s gross salary with a maximum limit of EUR 635.

Who can benefit?

Companies facing a business crisis, but which have not benefited from the simplified lay-off.

Duration

One-month.

3.3. Temporary exemption from contributions payment to the Social Security

Measures

Exemption from Social Security contributions by employers (only employers’ contributions).

Who can benefit?

Employers benefiting from the simplified lay-off, extraordinary professional training measures, or extraordinary financial support. Employers must prove that their contributions and tax payments are up to date with Social Security and the Tax Authority.

Duration

During the simplified lay-off period and/or the extraordinary professional training measures.

3.4. Extraordinary financial support to facilitate the payment of salaries in the activity normalization phase

Measures

  • Maximum of EUR 635, per employee, to be paid by IEFP – Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional;
  • A complementary aid may be granted up to EUR 351, per employee, to be paid by IEFP;
  • An extraordinary financial support of up to EUR 635, per employee, may be granted and paid by IEFP.

Who can benefit?

Employers benefiting from the simplified lay-off or the extraordinary professional training measures.

Duration

Until 30 September 2020.

3.5. Extraordinary incentives for the normalization phase

Measures

-         Support in the amount of a minimum monthly guaranteed payment (EUR 635.00), paid in one lump sum per worker who has benefited from the simplified lay-off;

-         Support in the amount of two guaranteed monthly minimum wages (1,270 euros), paid in two instalments over six months per worker who has benefited from the simplified lay-off;

Who can benefit?

Companies that are in a position to resume their activity, provided that they have benefited from the simplified lay-off scheme or the extraordinary training plan.

Duration

No deadline is imposed.

Where can you read more about these measures?

Covid-19: Absence from work

Covid-19: New extraordinary measures

Covid-19: Fast track lay-off

Covid-19: Privacy in time of pandemic – taking employees’ temperatures?

Covid-19: New social protection policies

Covid-19: teleworking can persist, but it is no longer mandatory

Covid-19: New measures to support resuming work

Covid-19: Simplified Lay-off and incentives to normalize the activity

4. Real Estate

4.1. Deferral of rents payment

Measures

  • Tenants with businesses under lockdown or activity restrictions due to mitigation and containment measures may defer payment of the rents falling into this period to the subsequent 12-month period counting from 1 September 2020, where the deferred amount should be paid in monthly instalments of not less than 1/12 of the total amount together with the relevant rents. No penalty for delay may be claimed to tenants;
  • Suspension of early termination of lease agreements by landlords;
  • Suspension of expiry of lease agreements at the end of the relevant term (unless accepted by tenants);
  • Prohibition of termination of commercial lease agreements on the grounds of business lockdown or activity restrictions.

Who can benefit?

Tenants of commercial lease agreements or other means of commercial exploitation of property.

Duration

Until 30 June 2021, at most.

Where can you read more about these measures?

Covid-19: payment of rents may be postponed

Covid-19: lease agreements regulatory update

2020-06-16

The first 2020 solar auction in Portugal was announced on March 27th and has now begun on 15 June 2020, to be completed by the end of the summer. 

The outcome of the 2019 solar auction has shown how competitive the Portuguese solar market can be. There was some uncertainty for a while as the Covid-19 forced the Portuguese Government to postpone new solar energy auctions, but now it's happening! 

This paper provides a guide through its stages and rules, learn about them in the PDF. 

2020-06-03
MVNO regulation has remained stable since 2007. Last year MVNOs accounted for a market share of 2,6% of mobile voice subscribers and 1,1% of gross revenue. 

In the proposed regulation for the forthcoming 5G Auction, ANACOM introduced a specific provision that requires that both new and incumbent MNOs are required to provide third parties access to their networks under non-discriminatory and fair conditions.

This means this is the right time for MVNOs to enter in Portugal, with the possibility of reaching specific niche markets yet to be explored, as well as new distribution channels.

Read more about the MVNO regulation here!