Portugal offers many excellent opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors. Whether you wish to start a business or already have a profession, skill or existing venture you would like to develop further in Portugal, our country will make you very welcome. Here there are no restrictions on foreign investment, no mandatory Portuguese shareholders, and no limits on your repatriation of profits and dividends. You’ll also discover some generous tax advantages and business grants – especially when you employ Portuguese nationals.
We offer a hard-working, well-educated work force, excellent infrastructure, lots of online services for businesses, plus full access to the EU single market. However, we also have a certain amount of bureaucracy, so you need a Portuguese attorney to advise you. I have experience in areas such as new business set-up, limited company law, registration of brands and trademarks, and import-export that can smooth your way ahead and help your business to grow and prosper.
Choosing the Right Business Structure: Your business could be in sole or joint ownership. Choosing the best structure is crucial, and all require the right registrations and documentation. Operating alone and self-employed, you could be: a Sole Trader, a Single-Member Limited Company or an Individual Limited Liability Establishment. If you have partners or shareholders, you could operate as: A Private Limited Company; a Partnership; a Limited Liability Partnership.
Tax and Social Security Registration: Each business structure entails different tax and reporting rules. But before you can start any business, you need to register for a unique tax number. It’s sometimes called the “numero contribuinte” or N.I.F. All self-employed persons under retirement age must also register for Social Security. Ex-pats bringing “high value” skills to Portugal may apply for a favourable flat rate of tax for 10 years under the Non-Habitual Tax Status. I can help navigate you through this complex but important matter.
Business Registration, Banking and Registered Office Service: I can assist you with registration of your business and setting up bank accounts, and also show you how to bank/set out invoices/pay bills online. If you have no physical office, or will be moving around for some time, don’t worry. For a small quarterly fee, you can use my own office address to receive emails, letters and official notifications.
Public Finance and Support for Businesses: Portugal offers a variety of both direct and indirect support schemes. SMEs can get help with low-interest bank loans, for example, and Tourism businesses may also get help with credit lines, insurance rates and investment. Direct finance is available to help with the costs of recruiting staff, training, set-up of technology businesses, R&D, innovative processes or products and many other things.
Contracts: Business activities require contracts for buying and selling goods or services, and these must be properly drawn up according to Portuguese law. You might also enter into a contract with a landlord to lease your office or factory premises, and if you employ someone, that also requires a contract meeting up-to-date requirements. Even working from home requires certain permissions and documents. Whatever you do, don’t enter into any agreements without consulting your lawyer first!
Liability and Consumer Rights: Do you know what rights consumers have in Portugal? Are you selling online or direct to the public? Are you a retailer or a wholesaler? Do you understand how to protect yourself against claims arising from your activities? And are you clear about what you may and may not say in your promotional material? Find out the facts from me.
Registering and protecting intellectual property: If you own a trademark or brand – including the design of your business logo – or if you have created inventions, designs, images such as photographs, or any literary or technical texts, you need to register and protect this Intellectual Property (IP) from imitation (passing off) or exploitation by someone else. Correct registration will allow you to license another business to use your IP assets for limited periods if you wish, or to sell them profitably in the future.
Copyright: If you commission someone to create something for your business – such as a logo or packaging design, your contract with them must state who owns the copyright. If you do not do this, you will not have the right to use these assets as you wish in future, and they could even be sold to one of your competitors by the creator.
Disputes: At some point, you may encounter a difficult situation such as a disagreement with your customers or clients. Or you may find yourself in an argument with your employees about their contracts or working conditions. Conflicts with a Partner or co-Director might cost your business dearly. You might even find yourself forced out by other managers. Take time at the beginning to protect your interests by discussing all the possibilities with your lawyer. It’s the only way you and your business can operate with peace of mind.
Buying or Selling a Business: There are all kinds of issues to be considered, and each case is slightly different. What matters most is that your lawyer carries out Due Diligence – i.e. that he ensures Confidentiality of privileged facts and checks all the information and documentation in any transaction to ensure there are no nasty surprises such as unpaid debts, convictions, fraudulent activities or other irregularities.
Succession Planning: Transferring your shares or ownership of the entire business while you are alive – e.g. when you retire – needs to be done with care in the correct legal format. If you wish to leave your stake in the business to a family member after you die, this needs to be made clear in your Will.