There are considerable advantages to buying properties in a corporate ownership scheme in Portugal (i.e. through an off shore company) this is particularly the case for Non-Residents. Portugal has a long history of these schemes, whereby a large number of properties, in areas of high foreign investment, are in a corporate scheme such as this. This is considered a sophisticated method of acquiring and possessing a property without having to pay the higher values of taxes and transfers of ownership, which are the "norm" in southern Europe. The property becomes an asset of the company, where buyers acquire shares of the company. This operation takes place under the jurisdiction of the area where the company is headquartered.
In 2003, the Portuguese government decided to press the THOC's (Tax Heaven Offshore Companies) and places like Gibraltar, The Channel Islands, Bahamas and many others, who were placed in the "blacklist". Those who had offshores in these countries were forced to bring the offshore companies onshore while others moved their companies to offshores which remain off the "blacklist", such as Malta and Delawere. However, due to the costs involved, it was difficult to know which was the best solution. People then sought by opting in accordance with its fiscal position. Leaving the real estate market to adapt to the situation and requirements of markets.
In simple, a Shared Purchase Agreement is drawn up. The immediate benefits of such an operation are simplicity and the fact that all documentation is written in the English, there is no liability to pay the IMT or the IS, as well as not having to go to the site to have this resolved.
When buying a property through a corporate structure, we recommend that you appoint a local lawyer because the lawyer does not only verify the position of the company, but will also ensure that the property is properly licensed, constructed in accordance with plans approved by the local authority and that the title is both clean and free of any debts.
We'd be happy to suggest you one of the many local lawyers who habitually work and who are familiar with this type of operation and its legal requirements.
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If you need more information, do not hesitate to contact us.
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* Keep in mind that laws on the ownership of a Portuguese property through off shore companies, are constantly changing and that in future, all benefits may be canceled or reduced. The VAP Real Estate is not responsible for such changes