A Guide to Understanding Income Declarations in Portugal

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are embarking on a new phase that we hope will be relevant to everyone. We will therefore periodically publish information relevant to companies and individuals. The topics to be published will always be about taxes, management and current affairs.

Our country is prodigal in always having lots of tax news. Being alert is a must, and being prepared for what's coming is a great challenge. 

Usually in April of each year, and until the end of June, individual taxpayers submit their tax returns. 

We live in an era in which everything is consumed quickly and there are many truths to the same reality. We live in a time when perception predominates over reality. We are in a digital world, which is very easily confused with a virtual world. 

So today we're going to try to bring you a reality that often brings up many doubts and unclear information.

The best way to get answers is to ask questions. So here goes.

The first piece of information to retain is the answer to the following question: Who is obliged to submit the Income Declaration in Portugal? 

All taxpayers resident for tax purposes in Portugal, with income in Portugal and abroad, as well as taxpayers who are not resident in Portugal and obtain income subject to taxation in Portugal. 

There are many different types of income, which for a better explanation need to be compartmentalised.

Today I'm only going to talk about pension income. We can divide pensions paid by the Social Security system into the following categories: Old Age Pension; Invalidity Pension and Survivor's Pension. These pensions all have the same nature, i.e. they are public pensions. 

In tax terms, pensions are divided into public and private. Portugal does not have a compulsory system for companies (Employers) to contribute to private pension funds; only public contributions are compulsory.

Public pensions are always taxed in the country where the work that gave rise to them was carried out, or from which it was carried out. In other words, a pension paid by the Portuguese Social Security system is only taxed in Portugal. It's important to clarify that to tax means to be subject to taxes. Our tax system has a number of deductions, either global in scope, i.e. affecting everyone, or specific to a particular type of income. 

As Portugal has more and more taxpayers with income outside of Portugal, it is also important to distinguish that pensions paid by the state where these taxpayers worked are taxed by the state. The same applies to public pensions when they are the result of public labour or service.

In the specific case of public pensions, holding Non-Habitual Resident Status is not relevant for taxation. 

If, for example, a taxpayer receives a state pension from the UK or a social security pension from the US, these are not subject to taxation in Portugal for all taxpayers who receive them. 

Private pensions, on the other hand, are usually taxed in Portugal according to the taxpayer's residence. 

There is a specific deduction that applies to private pensions, regardless of whether the pension is paid by a Portuguese organisation or from outside Portugal. The principle of pension taxation is based on the taxpayer's tax residence. 

Investment in a future pension should be based on its tax reality, even though we know that time lags will almost certainly change the tax conditions for its taxation. 

Taxation in Portugal is constantly changing and needs to be constantly adapted to new realities.