Off shore
In the past, in many cases  it was interesting to purchase a property in Portugal through a so-called offshore contruction.
This means that a company (usually a Ltd.) was established in a tax-friendly country where the property was put on the balance as an asset.

From 1 January 2004 the tax legislation drastically changed with the result that  offshore companies in tax havens had to pay such high taxes that this was not longer interesting.
The government had decided  that both the IMI (property tax) and the IMT (transfer tax) were increased for offshore companies in tax havens.

However, there is a distinction between the so-called black-list and white-list countries, so  in some cases consideration of an offshore construction can be worth to check.

If you buy a house that is already owned by an offshore company  this may not be a problem, but be sure if you purchase the property or take over the Ltd, because the tax  consequences may differ 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Advantages and disadvantages
 off shore transactions
Advantages (if "white-list" and non-resident in Portugal):

- Simple transfer of shares instead of property
- No problems with inheritance tax
- No IMT / transfer tax (0% instead of 6 to)
- No Income tax (normally 25% profit tax)
Of course it may be so that buyers do not wish that property is registered on their name, in this case an offshore construction is always desirable.

Disadvantages:

- Higher maintenance costs Ltd. ( € 1.500 -  4.000 per year)
- Higher costs fiscal representation
- Potential buyers could be deterred by the construction
- The risk white-listed countries will be moved to the black-list
Also given the current rapidly changing legislation,
 it is always important to seek advice from experts to avoid unpleasant fiscal surprises.

White- en blacklist
Currently only Malta, Cyprus and Delaware (USA) are at the white-list. On the blacklist are all other well known tax-havens like Gibraltar, Jersey, Virgin Islands, Isle of Man, Guernsey etc. 
 
         Companies in offshore

If you take over a company  you can do that from a private person or from a company, but you can also purchase the existing company (normally a Portuguese Lda) itself. Some companies are not a Portuguese Lda, but a Ltd. established in a country where many offshore companies are located such as Gibraltar, Malta or Delaware (USA).

In that case, the transaction is simple: you purchase the shares of this offshore company, the same way as you can do that in any other country.

Of course, you must  be sure that there are no "skeletons in the closet", and you must convince yourself that all licenses are present and valid. An audit accompanied by a lawyer and an accountant is always necessary in business transactions.

If you want more information about doing business in Portugal  you can always contact us via the 

We can assist you in this process.