For years Portugal has been a haven, a retirement El Dorado, for Europeans and Americans alike who want someplace warm and sunny, with easy access to both the seashore and the mountains — and, most important of all, a place where taxes are non-existent for seniors and foreigners, and the cost of living is relatively inexpensive.
Portugal has met all these requirements for over forty years, when it first became a popular retirement spot for Britons weary of paying exorbitant taxes at home even after they stopped working.
This was all made possible by Portugal’s celebrate ‘Non Habitual Residency’ visa — which gave foreign retirees freedom from any kind of taxation, so their pensions would stretch much further than in any other country in Europe.
But all that is about to change, and not for the better.
According to Portuguese media, two new tax laws will be put into effect later this year that will begin tapping retirement pensions to help defray the costs of infrastructure in Portugal, including such amenities as roads, public transportation, and hospitals and clinics. While no hard and fast numbers have been broadcast yet, it appears that retirees who can afford to rent or own a villa, for instance, will find that they have to pay about five percent of their annual pension to the government for the privilege of living in Portugal.
Will this cause a mass exodus of retirees looking for a new tropical haven? Only time will tell.