In recent years, Portugal has sought to position itself not only as a tourist destination offering up sunshine and beautiful beaches but also as a serious contender for one of Europe’s most innovative centers for new businesses. Government incentives and careful planning have bolstered the country’s economy, creating a stable environment for companies and individual traders. Recent clarification on the treatment of cryptocurrency in Portugal means that the small Western European nation is now also leading the way in terms of Bitcoin.
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Cryptocurrency regulation in Portugal
Officially, Portugal follows EU guidelines on cryptocurrency regulation, however, until last year there had been no official communication on official guidelines on Bitcoin.
Official EU guidance on cryptocurrency stipulates that gains from buying or selling Bitcoin should not be subject to tax. Specific legislation on Bitcoin has been left for individual member-states to define.
This document from 2016 (PDF in Portuguese) defines the official treatment of cryptocurrency in Portugal.
Is Portugal Bitcoin-friendly?
Yes, recent clarification has confirmed the legal status of Bitcoin by the Portuguese tax authorities (Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira). An official statement was given to a company planning to begin mining Bitcoin in the country, which was then subsequently published in the Journal de Negocios. In it, the financial authorities affirm that Bitcoin will be treated the same as any other currency.
Taxes for Bitcoin in Portugal
Bitcoin can generate income in a variety of different ways, as with any other currency:
- Gains from the sale and purchase of Bitcoin
- Profit from commission charged in services for the acquisition of Bitcoin
- Profit from the sale of products for Bitcoin
According to the Portuguese tax authorities, the exchange of Bitcoin “constitutes an on-demand, VAT-free exercise of services”. This means that any gains made from the purchase or sale of Bitcoin are not taxed, nor is the exchange of Bitcoin for other currencies.
Payments in Bitcoin to individuals in Portugal are also not taxed, however, any companies who deal in Bitcoin will be liable to tax on capital gains (paid on a scale between 28% and 35%).
It is also important to note that Portugal has no tax on inheritance, wealth, or gift tax for residents.
Bitcoin and the Portugal NHR regime
Portugal’s non-habitual resident tax regime (NHR) should also be of interest to Bitcoin traders. Tax is usually paid on a sliding scale in Portugal, although those who declare tax residency in the country can also benefit from the NHR regime, which allows individuals of high cultural and economic worth to enjoy lucrative tax reductions and exemptions.
Take a look at our guide for more information about the scheme.
Where to exchange Bitcoin
In theory, all banks in Portugal accept Bitcoin, as it has been officially declared by the Portuguese financial authorities as the same as any other currency. However, some banks in the past few years have been known to block transactions of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, supposedly after allegations of fraud. Millenium BCP and Activobank are two such banks that are alleged to have blocked cryptocurrency transactions.
Santander Totta branches in Portugal have also allegedly rejected Bitcoin transactions, but later backtracked on this decision.
Another option for those looking for Bitcoin banking options might consider using online banks such as Revolut.
Golden Visa program and cryptocurrency in Portugal
The Golden Visa program in Portugal is another added benefit to investing in Portugal.
The citizenship by investment program allows individuals from outside of Europe to obtain Portuguese residency through investing upwards of €350,000 in real estate, venture capital funds or businesses in the country.
Is Bitcoin legal in Portugal?
Yes, Bitcoin is legal in Portugal and receives the same treatment as any other “real” currency.
Is Bitcoin taxed in Portugal?
Any profit made from the purchase or sale of cryptocurrency is not taxed in Portugal, nor are payments made to individuals in Bitcoin.
Where in Portugal can I buy Bitcoin?
You can use online platforms to buy Bitcoin, or also one of the two Bitcoin ATMs in Lisbon.
Is Portugal a Bitcoin-friendly country?
Yes, the Portuguese government has demonstrated a commitment in recent years to making Bitcoin-friendly policies.