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2023 Tax Season Summary - from the Founder of FRESH PORTUGAL

Another tax season is over, and what a season it has been.

421 tax returns in Portugal is what the FRESH PORTUGAL team has filed, and another 100 in the US, coordinated with our consultants in the US.

In 2023, we filed 150 returns, so in 2024 we tripled. The main reason is the end of the NHR scheme that led to a rush of new expats coming to Portugal at the last minute during 2023.

Next steps:

2023 tax bills - our team will monitor the Finances website and will inform you when we notice your tax bill for payment (or a refund).

2024 returns - we have an established principle at FRESH that we always give priority to our clients and always offer the best deals to our existing clients and those who commit to working with us early. In 2023, early birds have enjoyed heavy discounts. Some of our learnings from the 2023 season are that we have gone too far with this. So yes, there will be generous discounts, but to ensure that we do not reach the same pressure levels in 2025 for the 2024 returns, they will not be as deep. It is already possible to secure the early bird rate for the 2024 returns at the following link:https://freshportugal.com/book_service?tax_returns_2024

Insights and observations:

Now that the tax season is behind us, I wanted to share some insights with you about this season.

First, I want to thank my amazing team. Thank you Rebecca, Henrique, Pedro, Raquel, Goncalo, and Bianca for your monumental effort. I am so lucky to work with a team that works incredibly hard (15 hours a day in the last two weeks) and that cares deeply about our clients and getting things done right for them. It's satisfying to know that with the best team I have ever worked with, such a great job has been done.

I want to thank our clients for their trust. Thank you for choosing us. There are many people who choose to pay peanuts and get monkeys. Choosing quality in a market that offers junk is not always the easiest decision. We thank you for making it and choosing us. I would like to assure our clients that our tax filing service is not just the largest but is also widely recognized in the expat community as the best.

I must acknowledge where we could do better. Our IT system, MyTaxes, which has been integrated into our main site this year, is the best in the industry, but it just hasn't been good enough. Some people needed to enter data more than once, and others, particularly Safari users, suffered from it. In addition, in the midst of the tax season, around mid-May, the number of emails overwhelmed us, and we were unable to respond to all emails within 24 hours, as per our normal service standard. In a few cases, people needed to wait for 1-2 weeks for a reply. We know why we fell short on these two issues (X3 growth of volume due to the end of the NHR rush, with mostly new and complex clients, major changes to the IT system following the introduction of crypto taxation and short-term capital gains taxation, electricity shortages in Ukraine where our main developer is based, a delay in the start of work of two team members, and an unusual number of personal issues slowing down the others), but we want to assure our clients that we are planning to dedicate a significant amount of time before the next tax season to perfect and streamline our software and that we also have the resources now to move into next year whilst keeping our usual service standards.

A coordinated US+PT return is much harder than we thought it would be - this year, we offered a US+PT return for the first time. The coordinated return turned out to be quite a task, particularly as many of our clients had income sourced in both the US and Portugal, and we needed to decide where to file first, provide estimates of taxes, and file extensions. This, in light of the huge volume, proved to be a pretty difficult task. Next year, we intend to keep the number of US returns and improve our processes in coordinating US returns, using learnings from this year.

Pension-only return isn't simple - in response to criticism that people with pension income only should pay less, we introduced a less expensive option for pension income only. In reality, since so many people have both private pensions and social security (which means sourcing in two countries), the pension-only returns were not simpler on average than standard returns.

2022 returns filed by other firms turned out to be a Pandora's box - our position on ultra-cheap returns filed by some firms is well known, but we were still surprised by the amount of disasters that we found in 2022 returns that were filed by those cheap providers and that became evident to us when we looked at the history for 2023 purposes. We had to refile many 2022 returns for clients who already paid for them and were understandably unhappy about the situation.

Once again, I want to wholeheartedly thank both the FRESH team and our clients for bearing with us, wish you all a wonderful second half of the year, and reiterate my hopes to continue working with you next year!

Kind regards,

Zeev Fisher, Founder of Fresh Portugal

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