Update – Administrative and Judicial Deadlines
In the wake of increasing coronavirus Covid19 related cases in Portugal, the Portuguese Superior Council of Magistracy had already enacted exceptional measures regarding court operations.
Now, the Portuguese Parliament passed a new law suspending administrative and judicial deadlines. The effects of this law will retroact to March 14th.
This new law establishes a set of exceptional and additional measures to mitigate the issues arising from the inability of public administration clerks and legal professionals to conduct business as usual due to the Covid19 outbreak.
Therefore, this new law establishes a set of rules directly aiming the public administration and legal professionals, extending some deadlines and, in some cases, suspending others.
Administrative Law implications
Municipalities can postpone their regular votes and meetings. These entities are now expressly authorized by law to hold such meetings online.
Public entities will now be able to submit their financial and accounting reports to the Accounting Court until the 30th of June.
Bearing in mind that a greater amount of additional expenses are not covered by the annual state budget, the Portuguese Parliament has exempted the public national health system from budget rules and pre-approvals concerning the acquisition of goods and services.
However, the contracts celebrated during these exceptional times will need to be communicated to the Accounting Court within 30 days.
Considering the impossibility of judicial, legal and public clerks to attend meetings and proceedings in Courts, the Portuguese Parliament has decided to suspend many judicial and administrative deadlines.
All deadlines running in Judicial and Fiscal courts, Constitutional Court, Accounting Court, Arbitration Courts, Public Attorney’s Office, and alternative conflict resolution entities will be under the judicial holiday’s regime.
This ultimately means that those deadlines will be suspended until the end of this exceptional State of Emergency.
This will also apply to procedures at Notaries Public and Public Registrars, proceedings related to administrative offenses under the tutelage of independent regulatory bodies (such as the Bank of Portugal and Securities Exchange Commission) and Public and Fiscal deadlines for the benefit of individuals and companies.
Fiscal and Tax deadlines
One should be careful when considering the suspension of the fiscal deadline since it seems to only apply to the proceedings related to the presentation of formal claims and legal oppositions to fiscal procedures and not with payment obligations.
This law does not allow businesses and freelancers to postpone the submission of their regular tax returns, forms, statements and payment of their tax obligations to the Portuguese Tax Authority.
However, another law has already addressed this issue, particularly concerning VAT and tax withholdings. One should tread carefully when assessing if a determined fiscal obligation has the deadline suspended since the failure to comply is associated with the payment of hefty fines.
Taking into consideration the probable income drop in many households, the Portuguese Parliament has expressly determined the suspension of all evictions procedures, freezing the effects of the resolutions notices issued by the landlords and the foreclosure of mortgages securing a registered household domicile.
The information above is a simple overview. Such information is not to be used in place of proper and complete professional advice, as it does not constitute a binding legal opinion nor does it not consider the particularities of your case.