Tax Reactions to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Pandemic in Portugal

Opinio Juris in Comparatione, Studies in Comparative and National Law Impact of Coronavirus Emergency - Special Issue 2020

24 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2021 Last revised: 24 May 2021

See all articles by João Félix Pinto Nogueira

João Félix Pinto Nogueira

International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation; Law School - Catholic University of Portugal (UCP); University of Cape Town (UCT)

Date Written: February 5, 2020


This study is focused on the tax measures that have been enacted in Portugal, following the health and economic crisis created by the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic.

First, it aims at comprehensively characterizing the measures enacted, structuring them by thematic clusters, enabling the reader to understand the concrete impact of the significant array of legislation and administrative guidance does not allow. Second, it aims to critically assess the measures adopted and uncover the rationale behind their adoption.

The study allowed us to conclude that the tax system was not the priority weapon used by the government to react to the pandemic. Nevertheless, many measures have been enacted, most of them with a non-substantial nature and related to the postponement of deadlines for the submission of tax returns or for payments of taxes due.

A careful review of the measures revealed that some areas could have been better dealt with, in order to increase legal certainty of the addresses of the measures. Moreover, the connection between some measures and the pandemic is not completely clear, which raises suspicion on the real reasons behind the adoption of the rules.

The same careful review has shown that many governmental actions correspond to best practices that should not only be praised but also be considered as examples to be followed by other countries. This is namely the case of the care in providing correct, easy-to-follow guidance to taxpayers on the impact of the measures that have been adopted.

All in all, these surgical tax measures adopted seem to be able to avoid further commercial and financial disruptions in the economy, avoiding situations of bankruptcy or avoidable hardships for taxpayers which would have only added more disruption to the one that the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 inevitably introduced.

Keywords: Tax, Taxation, Tax law, International taxation, CIT, PIT, VAT, Deferral, Policy, SARS-CoV-2, COVID, COVID-19, Portugal

JEL Classification: K33, K34, F13, E62, D78, E62, F02, F23, F42, H20, H22, H23, H25, H26, H87, O19, O23, O24

Suggested Citation

Pinto Nogueira, João Félix, Tax Reactions to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Pandemic in Portugal (February 5, 2020). Opinio Juris in Comparatione, Studies in Comparative and National Law Impact of Coronavirus Emergency - Special Issue 2020, Available at SSRN: or

João Félix Pinto Nogueira (Contact Author)

International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation ( email )

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Law School - Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) ( email )

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University of Cape Town (UCT) ( email )

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