Taxation in Portugal

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I have happy news to report today on Moving to Portugal. We have FINALLY sorted out our taxes. It took 18 months, 3 Portuguese accountants, 1 English accountant, and literally hundreds of hours of research time to work through the complexities of living in one country and earning in others, but thanks to the wonderful new Portuguese accountant we met last week, we now know what we are doing.

It was perhaps strange to walk out of an office so elated last week when we’d just been told we have to pay a scary five-figure sum in tax in September, but it had been weighing on our minds for so long, it was a relief to finally know.

Our previous experience of accountants in Portugal had been pretty disastrous. Out first attempt was with a well-known “expat specialist,” who shall remain nameless, who charged us a large amount of money to basically tell us we should do our best to “stay under the radar,” when we made very clear that we are people who prefer to pay our dues and go by the book. The second guy simply didn’t understand the way things work in both countries and shrugged a lot. He also suffered from a total inability to respond to emails, and gave us “factual” information that could be discredited with five easy minutes of web research.

The lady we met last week was incredible. In fact I think we actually love her a little bit! Super-sharp and fully versed on the intricacies of the tax and social security laws both here and in the UK. The kind of person who says “just sign here, here and here,” and takes all the stress away. Not cheap, but worth every penny. Anyone living in Portugal who wants to be put in touch with her, send me a message.

I cannot overstate how much having this sorted out has enhanced our lives. It has taken up so much of our time that, once it was sorted, it felt rather like the few weeks after our wedding, when we couldn’t remember what we used to do with our free time before it was consumed with wedding planning. Obviously I wish we could have found the right accountant months ago, instead of racing down expensive blind alleys, but having it all done now is good enough for us.

Sunday on the Beach in Lagos
Sunday on the Beach in Lagos

Our celebratory mood was enhanced further by our wedding anniversary on Saturday and some beautiful sunny weather. On Sunday we took a drive over to Lagos, in the western Algarve, and had two enjoyable meals in restaurants we hadn’t tried before (see Food and Wine Portugal for details!) We also had our first sea-swim of the year. It took some serious motivation to get in the water, which is even chillier up that end of the Algarve than up our end, but it was worth it, and wonderful to be bobbing up and down in the waves once more. We now have no excuse not to get in the water every time we hit the beach until early November. In fact, I can already feel the warmer water of Montegordo tempting me for when I finish work today!

All is pretty good then, in summary. We have two back-to-back rounds of guests visiting starting at the end of the week as well, so there’s plenty to smile about.
Have a good week, and stay tuned, as later in the week I will be posting Moving to Portugal’s first interview! Last week I caught up with Philip Graham, author of “The Moon, Come to Earth – Dispatches from Lisbon,” who provided me with lots of insights from his time in Portugal. Time, permitting, it will be here by the end of the week.

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22 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. hey there, next time you’re over Lagos way, give us a shout! 🙂

    We’ve contacting ‘your’ accountants too and have a meeting with them shortly. They can get our backsides sorted once and for all then too. Happy days (isn’t it strange the things that make us happy?!)

  2. Hi Tracey

    We’ve been ever so happy with them so far – would be pleased to know how you get on. Will definitely give you a shout next time we head west – do the same if you come this way!

    Best wishes

  3. Hi,

    Portugal should be thankfull to you.

    Muito Bem!


  4. Please let me have the details of your accountant lady.

    As I need someone in Portugal to help me


  5. hi
    I have a problem with amount of tax I paid after selling a property in Portugal and moving back to UK.
    I was represented by an accountant, but other forums are telling me that i should not have paid any CGT, but I had to pay loads.
    I would very much appreciate the name of your accountant to see if they can help me regarding this matter.
    I too, had a few `accountants` but was never really convinced that they knew what they were doing.

  6. Thanks for a very useful blog, warts and all!
    I’d love to get the ref for your accountant too: we’re hoping to retire to Portugal.

    many thanks


  7. Hi.Philip,
    Your lovely lady accountant can she advise us .We have small company in Lisbon we require accounting oversight to keep us in picture all accounts received are in local language. We need assistance .

  8. I would be very grateful if you could send me details of the accountant you found so good. Many thanks.

  9. Can you please send me the name and phone number, email of the accountant that you recommend. We are also looking for a good accountant, not having much luck so far. Thanks a bundle.

  10. Please can you send me the name and phone number or e-mail of the accountant you recommend. It can be a nightmare finding the right people to talk to.

    Best regards,
    Robert Edelston

  11. My wife and I are Canadian citizens who will be living in Portugal for 10 months while on sabbatical. We have already applied for a temporary residency visa, and were told to apply for residency when we get there. Our only income during this time will be from our home university in Canada. Do you know if we will need to pay income tax to Portugal?


  12. Hi Dan,

    Welcome to the blog. I would hesitate to advise as I have no idea how things work for non-EU citizens. I would suggest you speak to who I am sure could advise you.

    Good luck

    Best wishes,


  13. Hi Ben, I believe I’m facing a similar messy situation: earning money in Portugal while living in the US. I thought I could sort this out on my own, but that’s proving impossible. Could you also send me info for your recommended accountant? She does speak english, doesn’t she?


  14. Hello – please could you send me details of the lady you dealt with in Portugal. I am moving to Portugal with my UK job and it’s a bit of a minefield!

    Thank you!

  15. Hi, can I join the long list needing the contact details of your expert? Like lots of people I try to pay my way and respect the system operating here- I just need help to understand it and meet its requirements.


  16. I hope after over a year since the last one you are still receiving these messages. If so and you were still able to pass on the contact details of your recommended accountant, that would be greatly appreciated as I can just imagine following the same ill-fated route as you did initially!

    Thanks in anticipation

  17. I too would love to have the details of your accountant! We’re moving to Portugal next year and need help sorting out tax for my business – I’ve been researching online but there’s so much conflicting information. Thanks 🙂

  18. Would be very grateful for the name of the mysterious lady accountant mentioned in your post. Please send, and I am happy to say you referred us.

    Best Regards

  19. Please, I’m desperate to find a good accountant. Would you reveal her details to me too?
    Thanks a lot!!!

  20. Hello to recent commenters. As we’re no longer in Portugal we’re no longer up to speed with these things, so we’ve made the decision not to put our name to any recommendation! We suggest consulting the expat forums for up to date recommendations.

    Best wishes,


  21. Hi Ben,
    Even if you are not in Portugal anymore, please share with us (or just me 🙂 ) the name of your accountant. It’s very hard to find somebody and even if you can’t vouch for her services today, it is still a great help.
    Thank you!

  22. Hi Ben,
    Same here! Even if you are not in Portugal anymore, please share with me the name of your accountant. Really hard to find any recommendations at all. Thanks!

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