Starting a business in Portugal  – Part four

news: Starting a business in Portugal  – Part four

You and social security

THE MONTHLY amount that you must contribute to Social Security is based on your anticipated income, which you select from an 11 level table. The lowest bracket corresponds to that of the national minimum wage (365.60 euros in 2005) and the highest is 12 times that amount (4,387.20 euros in 2005).

The self-employed worker may opt between two levels of Social Security coverage: the Mandatory Regime or the Extended Regime. The Mandatory Regime guarantees coverage in the event of pregnancy, paternity leave and adoption, disability and old age pension, and survivors. For this basic coverage, you pay 25.4 per cent of the income level selected.

In addition to these benefits, the Extended Coverage also offers cover in the event of prolonged illness, professional disability and family benefits. Under this regime, you pay 32 per cent of the level chosen.

In the first year of business activity for tax purposes, the self-employed are exempt from these contributions. This exemption does not apply if you were previously registered and are reopening an activity. If your income fails to exceed six times the national minimum wage (¤2,193.60 in 2004), you are eligible for dispensation from Social Security contributions.

Current recipients of Social Security benefits (for example, old age pensioners), either in Portugal or in another EU country, may also apply for dispensation from contributions.

European Union

Social Security beneficiaries may now obtain a European Health Card that guarantees medical care in the event of unexpected illness while travelling anywhere in the European Union. Applications may be made at your local Social Security Office and processing normally takes five working days.

International treaties

Portugal has Social Security agreements that secure the rights of beneficiaries throughout the European Union as well as those of the following countries:





Cape Verde


Quebec (Canada)

Channel Islands (UK)




United States of America



Social Security on the internet

You may obtain further information in English at the Portuguese Social Security website:

• Dennis Swing Greene is senior partner and international fiscal consultant for EuroFinesco S.A., with offices in the Algarve and in Lisbon. Appointments may be scheduled in Guia (Albufeira) at 289 561 333 or in Lisbon (Chiado) at 213 424 210.