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Newsletter August 2019

Legal Updates

IMI exemption on buildings located in historical centres

The court battle to recognize IMI exemption for the taxpayers – owners of properties located in UNESCO-listed historic centers – has ended.

Following the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court, which has standardized the case law, the Government has formalized the exemption from the Municipal Property Tax (IMI) for buildings located in historical centers classified by UNESCO.

The decision will allow owners of buildings located in areas classified by UNESCO such as Porto, Guimarães, Évora, Sintra, Angra do Heroísmo, Óbidos and Elvas to benefit from this exemption without the need to resort to justice, as has already been communicated by the Deputy General of Property Taxes, Lurdes Ferreira, to the Tax Services, via circular.

It should be pointed out that since 2009, the Tax and Customs Authority has only considered exempt from IMI the buildings classified individually as national monuments, regardless of whether they were located in a UNESCO classified area. T

he Portuguese justice has, therefore, put an end to an IMI charge that has lasted ten years, condemning the Government, by means of the rendered decision, to return the amount charged to the owner of two
buildings in central Porto.

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Parliament approves SIGI

After some controversy, the legal framework of the SIGI (Real Estate Investment Companies) was finally adopted in the Parliament, maintaining, in essence, the legal regime originally promoted by the Government.

SIGI’s principal activity is the acquisition of the rights in rem in immovable properties, for renting or other forms of economic exploitation. It should be noted that the discussion about the social object of the SIGI was the main driver of the parliamentary discussion, considering that the previous wording allowed these companies to invest not only in renting but also in real estate development, construction or rehabilitation activities.

The approved legal framework allows SIGI to benefit from the legal provisions applicable to public limited liability companies, while the ones that already exist may be converted into SIGI by resolution of the Shareholders’ General Meeting.

Thus, SIGI promotes the strategic capture of foreign investment, allowing the strengthening of the competitiveness of the country’s economy and the promotion of investment in the Portuguese real estate market.

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Business Updates

Loan funds start to grant credit to Portuguese companies

The Government approved, in the Council of Ministers, the creation of credit funds, a financing alternative for companies.

The loan funds appeared in Europe after the financial crisis, at a time when banks stopped lending money to many companies. They are funds that, instead of investing, grant loans and compete with the banks in financing the economy.

These funds cannot lend money to banks but can lend it to companies, participate in granting credit consortiums or buy loan portfolios from banks.

Loan funds are a particularly useful tool for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that, unable to obtain bank financing, seek other financing channels.

The new financial instrument will start to be commercialized in Portugal from January 2020, eliminating the competitive disadvantage of national entities against entities from the other Member States that can market these vehicles in the European Union.

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122 million euros investment in Alcântara terminal

The Yilport Group, of Turkish origin, announced on July 15th, an investment of 122 million euros by 2038 in Alcântara Container Terminal. The amount of € 44.1 million has already been ensured by 2021 for the construction and extension of the pier, as well as for the creation of eight new gantries.

The agreement between the Administration of Lisbon’s Port and Liscont (Yilport Group’s company) anticipates several interventions, not only in terms of infrastructures, totalling 26.5 million euros, but also in terms of equipment acquisition and installation, at 93.5 million euros, and acquisition and implementation of technological infrastructure, at 2 million euros.

Speaking to the press, the Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, stated the importance of this investment, which will allow the terminal to receive larger ships and cargo, thereby ensuring the growth of the Portuguese economy.

The President of the Yilport Group, Robert Yildirim, underlined the fact that the investment made will ensure a reduction of CO2 emissions in the operation, emphasizing, nevertheless, the need for support in the revitalization of the local and national economy.

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