On this page you will find information about the obligations of establishing a local accommodation in Portugal. It is deemed as local accommodation the provision of temporary accommodation services, namely to tourists. The exercise of a local accommodation activity is subject to the fulfilment of several legal and fiscal obligations. Failure to comply with these obligations requires the payment of fines.
The incorporation of a local accommodation should follow several steps, which should be completed within the legal deadlines.
We will briefly explain below, in chronological order, each mandatory procedure. We may assist you with the entire initial process or, alternatively, only in some procedures. In the latter case, you should contact us to request a quote for the procedure that you need our assistance with.
In addition, we will also explain what recurring obligations you will have to comply with after the registration of the local accommodation. If you need our assistance with these obligations, please contact us to request a specific quote.
Description of initial procedures
The registration of the local accommodation is made through a previous communication addressed to the mayor of the area where the accommodation is located. This registration should be done online at the Entrepreneur’s Desk. If there is no opposition from the Municipality, a registration number is given within 10 days after this communication. This registration number constitutes the valid title for opening to the public and publicising the establishment.
Within 30 days of the presentation of the prior notice, the municipal council may carry out a survey to verify compliance with the requirements.
Any change to the registration must be communicated at the Entrepreneur’s Desk within 10 days.
If you wish our assistance with this registration, the following documents and information will be required:
– Identification document of the owner of the local accommodation establishment;
– Tax identification number of the holder;
– Land registry of the property or identification of the property;
– Property certificate (certificate issued by the land registry).
Before commencing the activity of local accommodation, the holder of the holding must submit the declaration of commencement of activity in his personal area of the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website. The submission of this declaration at a later date than the commencement of its activity is subject to the payment of a fine.
In order to access the personal area the person must obtain a password. This access password can be requested electronically, which will be sent within 5 working days to the person’s tax domicile registered in the Tax Authority system (for example, if the person is still registered as a nontax resident, this password will be sent to her address abroad, or to the Portuguese address of her tax representative, if she has appointed one). Alternatively, this password may be personally requested at a Tax Office, in which case the person will obtain the password on the same day.
If you would like our assistance with the password request at a Tax Office, we will need the following documents:
– Identification document (citizen card or passport);
– Portuguese tax number;
– Proxy to grant us powers to represent the person before the Tax Authority.
In order to assist the person in the preparation and presentation of the declaration of commencement of activity we will need the following information:
– Portuguese tax identification number;
– Date of commencement of activity;
– Estimated turnover in the first year of activity;
– IBAN of the person’s Portuguese bank account;
– Indicate whether commissions will be paid to foreign entities (e.g. AIRBNB).
The holder of the local accommodation must notify the Foreign and Border Service (SEF) within three working days of entry and within three working days of departure of the stay of foreign nationals in the accommodation. This accommodation bulletin will identify the guests and the dates of their stay.
This communication is made by means of the accommodation bulletin and can be done online in the Accommodation Information System or on paper and delivered to SEF. If you choose to do it online, you must previously be registered in the Accommodation Bulletin Information System.
The Municipalities of Lisbon and Porto have implemented the tourist tax. This tax, in the amount of 2 Euros, is due per person/per overnight stay in all local accommodation establishments, up to a maximum of 7 consecutive nights per person, per stay.
It is compulsory to register the the local accommodation establishment on the electronic platform provided by the municipalities for this purpose. This registration must be made within 30 days before starting the activity.
This stamp created by Turismo de Portugal recognises that the local accommodation establishment is committed to comply with the recommendations issued by the National Tourist Authority, under the guidelines of the Directorate General of Health, to reduce the risk of contamination of its spaces with SARS-CoV-2 and other infections.
The “Clean & Safe” declaration must be delivered in advance to the Entrepreneur’s Desk by the owner of the establishment and only after this declaration is delivered can the “Clean & Safe” seal be used in the establishment and on the platforms.
If the owner of the local accommodation establishment is registered under the normal VAT system (i.e. is not subject to the income exemption system for income of EUR 12,500 or less), he is obliged to have an electronic mailbox and to communicate it to the Tax Authority within 30 days from the date of commencement of activity or from the date of commencement of VAT regime (if he is subject to this regime at a later date)
The activation of the electronic mailbox is free of charge and is carried out on the ViaCTT website or in the owner’s personal area of the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website.
Any notification made to this electronic mailbox has legal effect and is considered to have been made on the 5th day after the registration of availability in the owner’s electronic mailbox, even if the person does not open the said notification. It is advisable to consult this electronic box frequently. You should also consult the emails sent by the Tax Authority to your personal email or by message to your mobile phone (both registered in the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website).
Fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 23% (due on the top of the fee amount). For more information on how to contract our services – here.
For the preparation of a memorandum with the tax regime applicable to income from local accommodation
For the process of fulfilling all the initial obligations of operating the local accommodation
EUR 250 (if it is necessary to obtain the password in person at the Tax Office, a cost of EUR 75 is added)
Description of other initial obligations
According to the law, the person or entity operating a local accommodation is jointly and severally liable with the guests for damages caused by them to the building and the property. In this sense, it is compulsory to take out insurance that covers fire risks and property and non-material damage caused to guests and third parties. The minimum capital of the insurance contract is EUR 75,000 per claim.
Local accommodation must have a complaints book which should be displayed at the establishment, in a clearly visible place and with characters easily readable by the user, and with a sign with the following information: “This establishment has a complaints book”. The sign where it must include the identification and address of the entity to which the user must submit the complaint (ASAE).
It is mandatory to provide guests with an information book in Portuguese, English and at least two other foreign languages on the operation of the establishment and rules for internal use (namely, the operation of domestic appliances, noise, telephone contact of the person in charge of operating the establishment and rules of the condominium, if applicable).
In “accommodation establishments”, “flats” and “rooms” a sign should be affixed at its entrance.
This plate must obey the following characteristics:
– 10 mm thick, extruded and polished crystal acrylic material
– Size 200 mm × 200 mm;
– Font Arial 200, dark blue (pantone 280);
– Application with a distance of 50 mm from the wall (through stainless steel screws at each corner: 8 mm diameter and 90 mm long).
Local accommodation establishments with a capacity of 10 persons or less must meet the following security requirements:
-Fire extinguisher and fire blanket accessible to users and respective signs;
– First aid kit accessible to users;
– Indication of the national emergency number (112) in a place visible to users.
Description of recurring obligations
The operator is obliged to issue invoices for each stay. As a general rule, these invoices must be issued within 5 days.
These invoices may be issued in the operator’s personal area of the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website or through any certified invoicing program. However, in the latter case, the operator is obliged to submit the said invoices to the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website by the 12th day of the month following that in which the invoice was issued.
In the event that you choose to issue invoices via your personal area of the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website, we are available to send you a document with instructions on how to fill in the respective fields and issue these invoices. We note that the filling in of the fields depends on your specific situation in terms of Personal Income Tax and VAT. Therefore, our instructions will be adapted to your specific case. With these instructions you will be able to issue all invoices without our assistance.
The operator is exempt from VAT if he has not achieved a turnover of more than EUR 12,500 in the previous calendar year (or estimates that he will not have such turnover in the first year of activity). If subject to VAT, the rate applicable to local accommodation services is 6%.
When subject to VAT, operators are required to submit a periodic VAT return (to be submitted monthly or quarterly).
For the preparation of your periodic VAT return, as a general rule, we will need the following information:
– Invoices issued;
– Invoices for VAT deductible expenses.
Despite being exempt from VAT, if you pay commissions to foreign entities for customer acquisition, the operator is obliged to register with the VAT Information Exchange System (VIES).
Income earners in Portugal are required to file an annual income tax return. This tax return must be submitted between 1 April and 30 June of the year following that in which the income was obtained and must be submitted electronically in the operator’s personal area of the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website.
For more information on this tax return, please consult here.
This fee, of EUR 2, is due per person/per overnight stay in all local accommodation establishments, up to a maximum of 7 consecutive nights per person, per stay. This fee is not subject to VAT.
Invoice for the collection of the tourist fee
The tourist tax should be included in the invoice issued for the local accommodation service. However, if the invoice is issued through the personal area of the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website, it will not be possible to include this legal fee in the said invoice. In such cases, you may issue the respective invoice to collect the legal fee on the platform made available by the City Councils for that purpose.
Please note that only one invoice may be issued by the group/family staying in the establishment during the same stay.
Declaration of Collection
In order to be able to deliver the tourist fee to the Municipality charged to the guests, the owner of the farm must submit a monthly or quarterly Statement of Collection on the platform made available by the Municipalities (if the owner is exempt from VAT or is within the quarterly VAT regime he may also submit this Statement of Collection on a quarterly basis). The deadlines for submitting the quarterly declaration are
– Until April 30, the amounts charged in the quarter from January to March;
– Until 31 July, the amounts charged in the quarter from April to June;
– Until 31 October, the amounts charged in the quarter from July to September;
– Up to January 31, the amounts charged in the quarter from October to December.
Following the submission of the Statement of Collection, an ATM reference will be made available, generally within 48 working hours, for the payment of tourist fees for the respective month/quarter. Payment must be made within 10 working days after this reference is made available for payment. Failure to pay within the legal deadline will result in the payment of interest and fines.
The delivery of the Statement of Collection is compulsory regardless of the absence of overnight stays during the respective period.
If guests do not pay the fee due, the owner of the farm must notify the same day to the City Council and enter this information in the respective Declaration of Collection.
This Statement of Collection is always obligatory, even if the owner of the operation works exclusively with tour operators who cover the fee directly to the guests (e.g. Airbnb).
The operator must charge the City Council a commission of 2.5% of the value of the tourist tax collected for the provision of the service of settlement and collection of the tourist tax. This commission will be subject to VAT at the rate of 23% if the operator is not exempt from VAT.
The operator must issue an invoice to the City Council to collect this commission, which is considered as taxable income of the operator for the purposes of Personal Income Tax (being added to income from local accommodation).
Together with the invoice sent to the City Council for payment of the commission, the following documents must be presented:
– Document proving the IBAN;
– Certificates of non-debt issued by the Tax and Social Security Authorities.
Exemption from withholding tax on commission paid by the holder of the holding
Commissions paid to foreign entities such as AIRBNB and Booking for the acquisition of Customers are subject to taxation in Portugal. The operator is obliged to withhold Corporate Income Tax at the rate of 25% on the amount of commission paid.
However, since these entities are tax residents in countries with which Portugal has signed a Double Taxation Convention, the income earned by them in Portugal – namely the commission paid by operator – is exempt from withholding tax if these entities present a certificate of tax residence issued by the tax authorities of the countries in which they are resident or, alternatively, these tax authorities certify the Model 21-RFI (form made available by the Tax Authority).
Reporting of fees paid to the Tax Authority
The operator is obliged to communicate to the Tax Authority the commissions paid to these entities. If the entities are not tax residents in Portugal, this communication is made through the presentation of Model 30 in the operator’s personal area of the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website.
This Model 30 must be delivered by the end of the second month following that in which the payment of commissions occurs
The commission paid to the entities for the acquisition of customers is subject to VAT in Portugal at the rate of 23%. The operator is responsible for the settlement and delivery of VAT to the Portuguese Tax Authorities (reverse charge mechanism).
The VAT is delivered through the presentation of the periodic VAT return. If the holder of the holding is exempt from VAT (for not having a turnover of more than EUR 12,500), he must still submit this declaration during the month following that in which the commission invoice is issued.
Fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 23% (due on the top of the fee amount). For more information on how to contract our services – here.
For sending instructions to explain how to issue Invoices through the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website
For the submission of the periodic VAT return
from EUR 75 / per return
For the preparation and submission of the Personal Income Tax return
from EUR 250 / per declaration
For sending instructions to explain how to pay the tourist fee and charge your associated commission
For sending instructions to explain how to fill in and submit Form 30 and the VAT return regarding the commission charged by the entities that collect customers
EUR 50 (on the understanding that this VAT return will only serve to deliver this commission)
This number will be your tax identification number in Portugal. This number is mandatory for any legal act in Portugal.
Residents outside of the European Union or the European Economic Area who have obtained a tax identification number in Portugal are required to appoint a tax representative.
The regime for non-usual tax residents enables people to enjoy certain tax benefits for a period of 10 years.
An individual tax resident in Portugal or non-tax resident, but who obtains income in Portugal, may be required to file an annual income tax return.
A self-employee is liable to several tax reporting obligations both at the beginning of one’s activity and during its course.
A person who is not a citizen of a country of the European Union, the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), Andorra or Switzerland is required to apply for a visa and a residence permit in order to reside in Portugal
Portuguese legislation allows the acquisition of Portuguese nationality in several situations, namely when one has been living in Portugal for more than 5 years.
In certain cases, one is not allowed to use one’s foreign driving licence in Portugal and thus, one is obliged to exchange it for a Portuguese driving licence. Even in situations where one may use a foreign driving licence, one is still obliged to notify the competent authorities.
Vehicles with a foreign plate are not allowed to circulate in Portugal. The import process should be initiated as soon as the vehicle enters the Portuguese territory if one intends to drive with it in Portugal.
The local accommodation scheme applies to the temporary leasing of properties in Portugal. This regime requires the fulfilment of several legal and tax obligations.
Citizens of a Member State of the European Union, the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), Andorra or Switzerland who stay in Portugal for more than 3 months are required to register and obtain a European Union Citizen Certificate.
This certificate proves to the authorities and/or entities of other countries that the person is a tax resident in Portugal.
People living in Portugal have access to the Portuguese public health system. To do so, they must register with a Health Centre and obtain a health identification number.