Expertise

VAT

© Jaime de la Jara

With more than 15 years of accumulated experience, VAT is the area in which we stand out the most, being referred as a Tier 1 firm in Portugal.
You can check our quick Q&A guidelines to Portuguese VAT:

Q&A guidelines to Portuguese VAT


National and international operations

We specialize in Portuguese VAT but our services go beyond borders and cover, asides local operationsintracommunity transactions, exports and imports, in connection with Portuguese territory. Our advice is completed through our international network of VAT experts.

Export and import operations are especially associated with high level clearance formalities and we help clients identify the key requirements to perform such operations.


Registration for VAT in Portugal

We have accumulated professional experience identifying the operations which require VAT registration in Portugal and the underlying compliance and invoicing obligations.

Examples of operations which may trigger the obligation to register for VAT herein are:

  • existence of a consignment stock in Portugal;
  • transfer of goods to Portugal;
  • import of goods in Portugal;
  • internet sales to Portuguese clients;
  • organization of a conference, meeting or seminar in Portugal;
  • acquisition and resale of goods in Portugal.

In this context, we render advise on:

  • the need to register for VAT in Portugal and steps towards registration;
  • the need to appoint a tax representative herein;
  • compliance obligations associated to a VAT register (VAT return, EC Listings, Annual returns, Intrastat Returns);
  • the need to adopt certified invoicing;
  • the Portuguese invoicing requirements, notably electronic invoicing, SAFT-PT and electronic archive.

VAT refunds

The Portuguese VAT law imposes a series of limitations to the recovery of Portuguese VAT, mostly in entertainment and hospitality related expenses.

We support our clients in the identification of the expenses in which Portuguese VAT can be recovered, as well as the legal requirements of the refund requests. Our support covers both standard VAT return and the special refund requests for non-resident taxable persons (former 8th and 13th Directive refunds).

We have a good track-record  representing clients before the Tax Authorities in audit controls of the VAT refund requests.


Invoicing

We have experience in advising on invoicing requirements in Portugal, both for established and non-established companies. Our advice covers traditional paper invoices, electronic invoices and archive obligations.

In this regard, certified invoicing and SAF-T PT requirements are sensitive matters with great operational impact.


Advisory on tax impact of operations and optimization of VAT

We frequently advise on the VAT impact of a given operation and legal provisions/mechanisms/benefits which can lead to VAT optimization:

  • application of reduced or intermediate VAT rates to products or activities;
  • correct application of the reverse-charge VAT rules;
  • legal criteria allowed for optimization of VAT deduction;
  • identification of formalities and evidence required to sustain VAT exemptions in export or intra-community operations;
  • restrictions in the VAT deduction of entities with limitations on the recovery of VAT such as foundations, associations, public bodies and charities;
  • exemptions and deferral of VAT applicable upon importation.

Chain transactions

In an increasingly integrated market, successive cross borders sales of goods take place. Often, one single transport of goods between two Member States corresponds to operations between suppliers, middle parties and clients located in three or more Member States. The amount of parties involved makes it difficult to ascertain which operation should benefit from the VAT exemption applicable to intracommunity delivery of goods. The VAT impact of chain transactions is a complex matter dependent on multiple factors such as the transport mode used, the underlying contractual arrangements, the  Incoterms agreed between parties, possession of the goods, among others. Our expertise allows us to guide you in the evidence which should be obtained to support the transactions and applicable exemptions.


Transport documents

Transport of commercial goods within Portuguese territory must be made  with adequate transport documents, previously communicated to the Tax Authorities. We have assisted clients in many audits and inspections in this regard. We have also acted as advocates for changes in the law to accommodate simplification regimes.


Restructuring and business asset transactions

Our know-how allows us to identify the VAT impact of restructuring and transferring business assets, such as transfers of a going concern, sale of tangible and intangible business assets, assignment of exploration, assignment of contractual position or the sale of shares.


Audits and dispute resolutions

We have a solid track-record as legal counsel in dealings with the Portuguese Tax Authorities and before tax courts. We outline defence strategies and their risks and assist in the build-up of  administrative claims, hierarchic and judicial appeals.

Each case is a new challenge and we strive to fight for justice and fairness. We believe that the best defence strategy is the cooperation and collaboration with the Authorities and we see reflexions of this every day in the collaborative way in which the Authorities reply to our cooperation.


Bad debt

You will need to pay to the Portuguese State VAT mentioned in an invoice issued, even if this invoice is not paid by the client. The Portuguese tax regime allows you to recover the VAT included in invoices related to bad debt but tight conditions laid down in the law must be verified for such. Our services help you optimize tax recovery, through the analysis of the overdue credits in which VAT can be recovered and the identification of the procedures to adopt to sustain the VAT recovery.


Tax advocacy

We are restless lawyers who sponsor  changes in the law. We have presented our contributions in the following areas:

  • certified invoicing;
  • simplification of export documents formalities in case of low value goods sent by postal consignment;
  • application of the VAT reverse-charge rules;
  • simplification of transport of goods documents regime.
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