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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.
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.