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For exceptional times, exceptional measures: the impact of COVID-19 in the compliance with tax obligations

SÉRVULO PUBLICATIONS 16 Mar 2020

Considering the effects that the spread of COVID-19 will have on the economic activity, the Secretary of State for Tax Affairs has issued Order 104/2020.XXII, on March 9th, intended at adopting several measures to extend the deadlines for voluntary compliance with tax obligations, as well as extending the possible causes for the verification of the so-called “justifiable impediment” to cases of infection and prophylactic isolation duly recognized by the health authorities. 

To this, should be added the enhancement of interactions with the Portuguese Tax Authorities through computer and telephone assistance, in detriment of in-person visits to the tax offices. 

In this context, we hereby present the newly adopted measures, which do not trigger any increased tax burden or penalties. 

Firstly, it has been determined the deferral of the so-called special payment on account, from March 30th to June 30th

Secondly, the deadline for the submission of the 2019 corporate income tax return has also been extended, from the end of May to July 31st

Thirdly, the first payment on account and the first additional payment on account, which are normally made in July may now be performed until August 31st

Fourthly, the so-called “reasonable impediments for the compliance with tax reporting obligations” of taxpayers or certified accountants are now extended to cases of infection or prophylactic isolation duly recognized by the health authorities.

Fifthly, according to the information made available in the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website,  taxpayers covered by isolation measures enacted by the health authorities, who are unable to comply with their tax obligations will not, in the light of the Portuguese Constitution and legislation, be subject to any fines for the respective infractions.

In case of being notified of administrative proceedings, those taxpayers must send the respective justification to the competent tax office (preferably, via the so-called e-Balcão service, available at the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website), including a certificate attesting the temporary impediment, duly recognized by the health authority, according to the competences stated in article 5 of Decree-Law no. 82/2009, of April 2nd

Finally, contacts with the Portuguese Tax Authorities should preferably my made through the following means of contact

Taxpayers wishing to arrange an in-person appointment at the tax office must previously book it, through the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website (at the following link https://www.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt/pt/consultaAtendimentoPresencial.action) or by phone ((+351) 217 206 707). 

In order to book the in-person appointment, via the Portuguese Tax Authorities’ website, one must indicate the respective subject, while considering that the appointment must be uniquely for the purpose indicated therein. 

Considering the above, we must now await the new challenges brought by COVID-19 to the national and global economy, and, eventually, to the update of the measures concerning the compliance with tax obligations.

Ana Moutinho Nascimento | amn@servulo.com

João Tomé Pilão | jtp@servulo.com