The IVAucher programme was set up to stimulate private consumption in the sectors worst affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (catering, accommodation and culture). With regard to these sectors, “catering” is used in the broad sense to cover restaurants, cafés, bars and catering companies providing food and beverage services, and “accommodation” refers to hotels and other short-stay accommodation for holidays and business travel.
The IVAucher programme makes it possible to accumulate value added tax ("VAT") paid by consumers on transactions within the sectors concerned and subsequently convert it into discounts for use in those sectors.
The IVAucher programme allows consumers to recover all the VAT paid in the catering, accommodation and culture sectors. This contrasts with the existing rules, which only allow consumers to recover 15% of the VAT paid in these sectors, in the form of a limited personal income tax ("IRS"), up to a limit of EUR 250.
To benefit from the IVAucher programme, consumers must buy goods and services from participating traders and comply with the conditions determined for each phase of implementation of the IVAucher programme. These conditions are described below.
1. Phases of implementation of the IVAucher programm
The IVAucher programme has three main phases: (i) a benefit accumulation phase, (ii) a benefit assessment phase and (iii) a benefit use phase:
a) Benefit accumulation phase
Beginning on 1 June and ending on 31 August, this corresponds to the period during which consumers (regardless of whether they have joined the programme) accumulate the VAT paid on purchases of goods and services in the catering, accommodation and cultural sectors.
To be able to accumulate the VAT credit, the purchases of the goods and services must be made from entities whose Economic Activity Code (Código de Atividade Económica - "CAE") includes catering, accommodation and cultural activities (see Annex I).
b) Benefit determination phase
This phase runs from 1 to 30 September 2021 and it is the period during which the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority ("AT") validates and calculates the amount of VAT borne by each taxpayer in the purchase of goods and services in the catering, accommodation and cultural sectors that is eligible under the IVAucher programme.
The benefit attributed corresponds to the sum of the VAT amounts on the invoices issued in the benefit accumulation phase, less the VAT amount on any cancelled invoices and credit notes issued.
For this purpose, only invoices, cancelled invoices and credit notes communicated to the AT by the deadline to communicate invoices (i.e., under the general rules, until 12 September 2021) are considered, with reference to the month of August - the last month covered by the benefit accumulation phase.
The definitive amount of the benefit determined by the AT will be disclosed to consumers in the AT computer application, or on the AT's website, by 30 September 2021.
c) Benefit use phase
Consumers who have joined the programme can use the accumulated benefit on purchases of goods and services from traders covered by the IVAucher programme between 1 October and 31 December 2021.
In this phase, in the sectors covered, consumers can choose to pay for goods and services by using the accumulated balance, up to a limit of 50% of the value of each payment they make.
The AT makes the balance of the benefit available and any transactions available in real time in the AT application or on the AT website (Portal das Finanças).
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