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Set up a Foundation in Portugal

Set up a Foundation in Portugal

Foreign investors can direct their attention to non-profit organizations or foundations in Portugal if they want to collect funds and invest them in science, education, or research in varied areas of interest. A foundation deals with donations made by companies or citizens and it is obliged to act in a transparent manner. Our company formation specialists in Portugal can help individuals set up foundations in Portugal and, even more, the same team can offer support when registering a company in Portugal.

Documents preparation for a foundation in Portugal

Foundations in Portugal are registered as associations with the IRN (Instituto dos Registros e Notariado) in the country, where several documents are solicited, among which we mention:

  • the names of the owners of the foundation in Portugal with ID copies and details about the business address;
  • documents mentioning the purpose of the charity and where the funds will be directed;
  • a document which comprises the rules of the association in Portugal;
  • the lease contract of the charity.

A foundation in Portugal can be set up with a fee of about EUR300, and choosing the name of the charity might be subject to a different fee. We mention that a foundation or a non-profit organization in Portugal will receive a fiscal ID, will have a bank account for future transactions, and will be supervised by a board of managers as soon as it is established. In matters of company registration in Portugal and the documents which need to be prepared, we suggest you to ask for support from our specialists in company incorporation in Portugal.

Accounting services for foundations in Portugal

Even if it is a non-governmental organization (NGO), there is still a need for an accountant who can take care of the financial aspect of the charity, especially if the owner plans to gather funds of about EUR 100,000 per year. Furthermore, the association will have employees, therefore, payroll services are necessary. The bookkeeper of your charity in Portugal will take care of each transaction in matters of documents and will explain each detail regarding the taxes imposed in this matter, if any. We remind you that our team can help you open a company in Portugal and also manage the formalities for incorporation of a foundation.

What kind of activities are linked to an NGO in Portugal?

The main activity of a foundation in Portugal is to raise funds and direct them to different social projects and get involved in varied activities, in a very transparent manner. Charities established in Portugal are not subject to taxation, however, the support of an accounting firm is needed.

Is it hard to establish a foundation in Portugal?

No, there are no complicated requirements for opening a charity in Portugal, however, there are a few requirements to take care of, with complete help provided by our team of company formation representatives in Portugal. Here are a few steps to consider when opening a charity in Portugal:

  1. It is important to look for sponsors in the first place, at the time the foundation is set up.
  2. A business plan is recommended, even if you establish an NGO in Portugal.
  3. The paperwork for opening a charity in Portugal is the next thing to consider and prepare.
  4. A board of managers and a representative need to be appointed for a charity.

Opening a foundation in Portugal is not complicated or time-consuming, nevertheless, there are a few steps and formalities to focus on. Besides the above-mentioned procedures for opening a foundation in Portugal, it is necessary to request a certificate of admissibility at the National Register of Legal Persons for which the preparation of the minutes of the general meeting is needed. Additionally, if you need support in this matter, feel free to contact one of our company formation experts in Portugal.

Those who want to develop their businesses in Portugal can benefit from the support and complete services offered by our accountants in Portugal. Thus, you will be up to date with all procedures and measures imposed by law, regarding payroll, audits, annual financial statements, tax advice, and compliance. We can also help you with the preparation and submission of annual tax declarations because we collaborate with the relevant financial institutions.

Charitable purposes of foundations in Portugal

Promoting education and learning, community communication, volunteering, or supporting human rights and the environment are only a few of the targets and responsibilities of charities in Portugal, or anywhere in the world. Foundations in Portugal can also support social and medical research, or address and assist persons who are looking for jobs in the country. 

How do I promote a foundation in Portugal?

Most charities have their activities presented on the internet through varied channels like websites, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, Google ads, etc., or offline with the help of radio and television, social communities, social projects, and related activities. Numerous foreigners have a business background and decide on opening charities in Portugal, using their previous experience and marketing methods among other things.  

Differences between foundations and associations in Portugal

Associations and foundations in Portugal differ depending on the way they are established. Here is some information in this regard:

  • EUR 250,000 is the initial endowment for foundations in Portugal, usually set up as a Public Deed before a public notary.
  • In the case of the patrimonial collection as an initial endowment for the foundation, a fraction in cash must be included, of at least 30% rate, and transferred to the ownership.
  • In the case of associations in Portugal, there is no need for a notary deed or initial donation to be registered.
  • In the case of associations, Articles of Association must be drawn up and submitted to the Portuguese Commercial Registry.
  • These entities primarily carry out activities of general interest. However, such entities are not prevented from exercising secondary economic operations as long as the income is not distributed among founders.
  • The difference compared to other entities is also the taxation system, and here there is a 20% corporate tax rate for associations and foundations that do not generate profit. Exceptions are in the case of public and social institutions if they respect the formalities and policies required by the Ministry of Finance in Portugal.
  • VAT is also discussed, except for services exempt from this payment.

Other requirements for foundations in Portugal

There are several aspects that must be respected by the members of a foundation. Here are some of them:

  • Foundations must have a social purpose and must seek to benefit a generic group of receivers.
  • It is forbidden for the foundation to activate for private matters of founding members.
  • Another important aspect is the non-profit status that an NGO has in Portugal.
  • The positive result of the economic funds should not be allocated among the founding members of the entity. This must be reinvested and used for the satisfaction of the objectives of the respective foundation.
  • A foundation is normally incorporated in front of a public notary by creating a public deed.
  • Two members are required to establish a foundation in Portugal, they must have a tax ID.

Pros and cons of foundations in Portugal

Charities are exempt from taxation, have a good level of public trust, and have correct purposes as they act only for the best interest of the public. Among the cons of foundations in Portugal, we mention that charities cannot be involved in political activities, cannot work for a group’s interest, and cannot involve family members, or offer work to a trustee’s family company, for example.  

Our specialists in company formation in Portugal can come with extra details. On the other hand, regardless of the business structure you have or want to develop in this country, you can opt for the services offered by our accountants in Portugal.

Who controls a non-profit foundation in Portugal?

In the case of the foundation, the responsibility for its activities and operations falls on the board of directors’ attention.
As for an association in Portugal, it can be controlled by the General Assembly. The latter can appoint a board of directors with a well-defined structure. Here, in addition to the president of the association, a secretary and a treasurer are also needed.

We suggest you contact our team of specialists for more details about how to set up a company in Portugal, or a foundation, depending on your business projects for this country.

Here are some statistical data about NGOs in Portugal that might interest you for future business plans:

  • There are around 157 NGOs registered in Portugal.
  • Many of the NGOs registered in Portugal are found with activities in over 212 countries in the world.
  • Around 54 of the NGOs registered in Portugal offer building and/or space facilities.

If you are interested in more details about how you can establish a foundation in Portugal, you are invited to talk to one of our company formation representatives in Portugal. Additional information about how to set up a company in Portugal or about how to register your business can be solicited from our team of company incorporation consultants in Portugal, so please feel free to contact us.