Archive for October, 2015

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New White Paper: Madeira IBC tax regimes, differences and advantages

In on October 27, 2015 by NEWCO

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Since its inception (1980), the benefits within the Madeira IBC are available through tax regimes with a limited timeframe, which have been successively authorized as a result of fruitful negotiations with the European Union (EU).

There are currently two tax regimes in force within the IBC – each have some differences and its own advantages. In this new white paper, we explain the main differences between these two tax regimes and the advantages that our clients may have in maintaining the old regime or choosing to migrate to the new one.

This is the first of a new series of NEWCO resources, which analyze more in depth some topics of interest in the jurisdictions where we operate.

Download our new White Paper.

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International Shipping Register of Madeira more competitive

In on October 16, 2015 by NEWCO

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Decree-Law 234/2015 of 13 October has brought about some changes to the International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR), improving the conditions in force and thereby making it more competitive.

The International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR) is a European Union ship register that is a credible competitive alternative to other international registers, fully complying with the technical rigour of the safety requirements of a high quality international register.

Created in 1989 via Decree-Law 96/89 of 28 March, MAR has since undergone legislative and operational improvement to keep abreast of trends in the transport and maritime sector, meeting the needs and interests of international ship owners, while still maintaining the high levels of rigour and safety it is known for.

The main changes introduced via Decree-Law 234/2015 of 13 October are as follows:

  • Limitation of the right to release a mortgage, pursuant to Art. 721 of the Portuguese Civil Code.

This right, as regulated by Portuguese rule of law, was considered by foreign creditors to be an impediment to the financing of ships registered under MAR, because the option provided for under sub-paragraph b) of article 721 of the Civil Code allows the parties acquiring the mortgaged property to release the mortgage for the amount that they have acquired the ship for or for its estimated value, if it is acquired free of charge. It is now clear that the party that has acquired the mortgaged ship can only exercise the right to mortgage release if the exercise of that right guarantees the mortgage creditor full payment of all rights and charges ensuing from the mortgage contract. Hence, sub-paragraph b) of the aforementioned article 721 of the Civil Code is not applicable. Some formalities were also simplified as pertains to establishment, modification and extinction of mortgages, and their registration in the Private Commercial Registry Office of the Free Zone of Madeira.

  • Increased flexibility in crew composition.

 

The minimum percentage of crew members with Portuguese or European nationality or nationals from Portuguese speaking countries has been reduced to 30% (previously it was 50% of the crew). Crew members of other nationalities may be authorised in duly justified cases and when it is not possible to recruit crew members from the countries mentioned in the previous point.

To find out more about the International Shipping Register of Madeira and the advantages of the International Business Centre of Madeira for the international maritime transport sector, download our Shipping in Madeira guide or contact us.

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New rules for awarding Golden Visas in Portugal

In on October 2, 2015 by NEWCO

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The Investment Residence Authorizations Program (Portuguese acronym ARI) or Golden Visa that allows citizens from third party countries that are not part of the European Union or that are not part of the Schengen Agreement are guaranteed authorization to reside in Portugal in order to undertake investment activity is one of the most popular and competitive programs authorizing residence for foreign investment in Europe, with a significant impact on the Portuguese economy.

According to data made available by the Immigration and Borders Control Service on its webpage, between 8 October 2012 and 31 August of this year, total investment resulting from the ARI program was EUR 1.49 billion, most of which (EUR 1.45 billion) via acquisition of real estate property, resulting from 2,465 residence authorizations granted. The Chinese continue to lead in terms of the number of Golden Visas (1,969), followed by Brazilians (89), Russians (86), South Africans (63) and Lebanese (38).

Despite its success, the Golden Visa program was altered (Law no. 63/2015 of 30 June) with the aim of broadening the scope of investment activities that are eligible for obtaining authorization for residence and increase the situations covered by the right to family reunification.

Under the current Golden Visa program the following investment activities shall be eligible for granting Golden Visas:

  1. Transfer of capital equal to or greater than one million euros:
  2. Creation of at least 10 jobs;
  3. Acquisition of real estate property with a value equal to or greater than € 500,000;
  4. acquisition of real estate property whose construction has been concluded at least 30 years ago or which is located in an urban rehabilitation area and rehabilitation works have taken place on the acquired real estate property to a total value which is equal to or greater than €350,000;
  5. Transfer of capital equal to or greater than €350,000, which is used for the purpose of research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions that are part of the national scientific and technological system;
  6. Transfer of capital equal to or greater than €250,000, which is used to invest in or support artistic production or recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage via direct, central and peripheral administrative services, public institutes, entities that are part of the corporate public sector, public foundations, private foundations with a public utility status, inter-municipal entities, entities that are part of the local corporate sector, associative municipal entities and public cultural associations that take part in artistic production and recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage;
  7. Transfer of capital equal to or greater than €500,000, earmarked for acquiring shareholdings in investment funds or risk capital funds directed at capitalizing small and medium enterprises that submit their respective capitalization plan for the purpose, and said plan is considered feasible;

If investment activities are performed in territories with a low population density (areas with an average of less than 100 inhabitants per km2 or GDP per capita less than 75% of the national average), the minimum limits of the investment amounts shall be reduced by 20% in relation to the minimum limits of investment amounts.

As regards increasing the situation covered by the right to family reunification, in addition to this right being granted to family members of the person holding the Golden Visa who are outside of Portuguese territory and who have lived with him or her in another country, that depend on him or her or that cohabitate with him or her, along with those who have legally entered Portuguese territory and who depend on or cohabitate with him or her, children with the following characteristics shall also be considered family members of the resident:

  1. are of adult age;
  2. are in the custody of the couple or of one of the spouses;
  3. are unmarried; and
  4. are studying in an educational establishment in Portugal or abroad.

These changes were implemented to fill some of the gaps in legislation and help narrow the decision-making scope of the Immigration and Borders Control Service, and offering greater transparency, rigour and control in the Golden Visa approval process.

To find out more about this program and all the advantages of living in Portugal, download our guide Living in Madeira or contact us.

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