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A comprehensive guide on how to establish a Business in Portugal

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

Initiating a company establishment procedure can be rather intricate, particularly if it is your maiden attempt. Apart from formulating a well-structured business strategy, you will have to determine your company's legal structure, collect a multitude of unfamiliar documents, and meticulously adhere to an array of protocols. However, there is no need to despair as we are here to provide guidance. This article elucidates everything you need to know before setting up your company and delineates the step-by-step procedures to follow.

In order to achieve success Business in Portugal, it is essential that you invest your time in thorough research and crafting a well-structured business plan.

The adage "haste makes waste" holds true especially in the context of creating a company or starting a business in Portugal. It is crucial to organize and evaluate ideas, ensure their feasibility, and establish a solid business model.

But why is it so imperative to invest time in these aspects before opening your business in Portugal? This is because a great idea does not always equate to viability and success. To determine if your idea is truly feasible and profitable, it is essential to conduct market research and analyze your target audience. Through a market and feasibility study, you can gain insights into the competitive landscape and assess the demand for the product or service you intend to offer.

If the results of your analysis are favorable, it is time to begin developing your business plan. Despite many businesspeople and entrepreneurs neglecting this critical step, starting a company without a comprehensive business plan is a grave error that can lead to failure, despite the potential of the business. Therefore, devote significant effort to crafting a business plan that is straightforward and realistic, reflective of current trends and circumstances. Try to avoid creating a document solely based on your expectations, which may or may not align with reality.

It is imperative to bear in mind that a well-prepared business plan should, at the very least, encompass the following components:

  1. Executive summary;

  2. Description and background of the company or its founders;

  3. Analysis of the target market;

  4. Overview of the business idea and its market positioning;

  5. Commercial strategy and marketing plan;

  6. Explanation of how the company will be managed and controlled;

  7. Definition of required investment, as well as financial projections and models;

  8. Inclusion of any relevant contracts, agreements, patents, or legal statements.

By providing a clear and comprehensive overview of these elements, your business plan will serve as a roadmap for your company's future success, ensuring that you have a solid foundation to build upon as you navigate the challenges of starting and growing your business.

Now is the moment to establish the legal structure of your enterprise.

After meticulously planning your business, the next crucial step is to determine the legal form of your company. Despite appearing to be a straightforward decision, it requires thorough analysis as it significantly impacts the taxes to be paid and legal procedures to follow when creating the company.

If you intend to establish a company as the sole partner, there are two alternatives available:

Sole proprietorship and sole proprietorship by quotas.

To make an informed decision, it is necessary to comprehend the specific obligations and risks associated with each option. A sole proprietorship requires only the declaration of the beginning of activity and registration with Social Security. If the net annual income does not exceed 200 thousand euros, simplified accounting is possible without the requirement of a Certified Accountant. Nevertheless, this choice may not be the most profitable one for your business.

For instance, if the company accumulates debts, your personal assets are liable. Moreover, dealing with tax bureaucracy like VAT and IRS without an accountant may become a tedious task. In contrast, in a sole proprietorship by quotas, even with a single partner, the liability is limited. However, it is essential to take various factors into account.

  • Sole Proprietorship by Quotas requires defining share capital and opening a bank account for the company.

  • Corporate income tax applies to this type of company.

  • Services of a Certified Accountant must be hired.

  • Opening a company requires delivering more documents and making decisions.

  • Company name must contain the words "Unipessoal or Sociedade Unipessoal" and then "Lda ou Limitada" when registering.

  • Enrolling in Finance and Social Security is necessary to open the company.

If you plan to establish a Business in Portugal with multiple partners, it is important to understand the obligations of a Private Limited Company or a Public Limited Company. For a Public Limited Company, the share capital is divided into shares and requires at least 5 partners whose liability corresponds to the value of their shares. However, a Public Limited Company cannot have a share capital less than 50,000 euros. To learn more about other legal forms such as General Partnership or Limited Partnership, it is recommended to refer to the Commercial Companies Code found in Decree-Law nº 262/86.

Considering setting up a business in Portugal? Consider the benefits of Empresa Na Hora.

With the convenience of online information and physical branches across Portugal, Empresa na Hora is a popular option for setting up a company. You can easily gather all necessary information and choose from pre-approved templates to simplify the process.

Keep in mind that gathering documents and making decisions are essential steps when starting a business. It's important to be well-informed and prepared in order to ensure a smooth and successful process.

Some of the key documents you may need to gather include identification documents, tax identification numbers, and proof of address. You will also need to make decisions regarding the legal structure of your company, as well as other important details such as your company name, business plan, and financial projections.

It's a good idea to seek professional advice and guidance to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and information in order to make informed decisions and move forward with confidence.

The process of gathering documents and making decisions is often the most confusing for those interested in starting a business in Portugal. A common question that arises is: "What documents are required to open a business in Portugal?" If you opt for Empresa na Hora, the first step is to decide whether to choose a pre-approved company name or submit a name of your choice for approval through a certificate of admissibility.

The Choice of Name.

When opening a company in Portugal, one of the important decisions to make is the choice of name. Choosing a pre-approved name is the simplest option, as you can easily consult the list of names available online or at a counter. However, if you prefer to choose your own name, you will need to apply for a certificate of admissibility of the firm or denomination, which includes the approved name. This certificate can be obtained through the ePortugal website, and is valid for 3 months after issuance. If you opt to create your company through a branch of the National Registry of Legal Entities, you can have the name approved at the time of creation.

Social pact.

It is recommended to select a social pact model as it is a mandatory requirement for creating a sole proprietorship by quotas, limited liability company, or anonymous company. There are several models of social pacts available on the internet that you can consult. If you choose to set up a sole proprietorship by quotas, only one social pact is available on the company's website at the time. However, in the case of other legal forms, there are multiple options to choose from, and it is important to carefully read and compare each one.

Opening Your Business: What to Expect on the Big Day.

When you go to Empresa na Hora to open your company, make sure all partners are present or have a power of attorney and bring personal documents like citizen card or passport. You also need to appoint a Certified Accountant and submit the start-up declaration to Finance within 15 days. You have 5 days to deposit the share capital into the company's bank account or by the end of the first financial year.

What if my partners are legal persons?

Choosing to go through Empresa na Hora usually results in lower costs for creating a company, with a fee of 360 euros.

If a brand is associated with a class of products or services, an additional cost of 200 euros is established, with an extra fee of 44 euros for each additional brand.

If the capital includes non-cash assets, fees of 50 euros per property, quota, or social participation, 30 euros per movable property, and 20 euros per moped, motorcycle, tricycle, or quadricycle with a cylinder capacity of up to 50 cm3 are added, with a maximum total of 30 thousand euros.

To avoid legal issues, it is important to have the help of qualified professionals to review the technical procedures involved in creating a company. At INLIS Consulting, we are always available to provide assistance and answer any questions you may have.

Business in Portugal

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