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The Importance of Legal Compliance for Portuguese Businesses

By Bernardo Barbosa

Published on 9 January 2024

6mins read

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Depending on their location, businesses are subjected to different legal and tax obligations. If you're planning on starting a company in Portugal, it's key to be familiar with legal compliance for Portuguese businesses. But what is it? Why is it important? And how can Portuguese companies implement it?

In this short but comprehensive guide, we will answer all of your questions!

Legal compliance refers to the act of adhering to all applicable laws, regulations, and standards that govern a particular business or industry. It involves ensuring that the company's operations, policies, and practices are in line with the legal requirements set forth by the government. 

Compliance is essential for businesses as it helps maintain ethical practices, protects the company from legal risks, and fosters trust with customers and stakeholders. It is therefore crucial for organizations to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing legal landscape and proactively implement measures to ensure compliance.

Legal compliance is crucial for Portuguese businesses because it helps to ensure that they operate within the boundaries of the law and avoid potential penalties and legal issues. 

By adhering to the legal requirements, businesses can maintain their reputation and credibility in the market, which is also essential for attracting customers and business partners. 

As we'll see, non-compliance can result in financial losses, fines, and even legal action! Thus, it is imperative for businesses to prioritize legal compliance and establish an effective compliance program that includes identifying applicable laws and regulations, establishing policies and procedures, and providing training and education to employees.

The Consequences of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with legal requirements can have serious consequences for Portuguese businesses. Fines and penalties may be imposed, which can result in significant financial losses. In addition, non-compliance can damage a company's reputation and credibility, leading to the loss of customer trust and potential business opportunities. 

Moreover, legal actions and lawsuits may be filed against the business, further adding to the financial burden. It is crucial for businesses to prioritize legal compliance to avoid these detrimental consequences. Implementing an effective compliance program, including regular audits and training, can help businesses stay on top of their legal obligations and mitigate the risks associated with non-compliance.

Consequences of Non-Compliance:

  • Fines and penalties
  • Damage to reputation and credibility
  • Legal actions and lawsuits

Note: This information is not exhaustive and there may be additional consequences depending on the specific legal requirements and regulations applicable to each business.

Failure to comply with legal obligations can have severe consequences for Portuguese businesses. It is essential for businesses to understand and adhere to the relevant laws and regulations to avoid financial losses, reputational damage, and legal actions. For this purpose, business apps such as Rauva can be very helpful:

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Business Registration and Licensing

When starting a business in Portugal, one of the key legal requirements is to ensure proper business registration and licensing. This process involves registering the company with the appropriate authorities and obtaining the necessary licenses and permits to operate legally. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in penalties and legal consequences. 

By partnering with certified accounting and legal services providers such as Rauva's Partners, businesses can ensure that they receive the necessary guidance and support in navigating the registration and licensing process.

Tax Compliance

Tax compliance is a crucial aspect for Portuguese businesses. It is essential to ensure that all tax obligations are met to avoid penalties and legal issues. Portuguese businesses must register with the Tax Authority and follow the regulatory standards for invoicing in Portugal. 
Rauva offers a solution for tax compliance through its partnership with InvoiceXpress. By using Rauva's invoicing service, businesses can create certified and fully compliant invoices that are legally binding. This partnership also provides seamless integration between multiple platforms, making it easier for businesses to manage their invoicing process and handle their business account under one roof.

Employment Laws and Regulations

Portuguese businesses must adhere to various employment laws and regulations to ensure compliance and protect the rights of their employees. This includes hiring practices, working hours, minimum wage, employee benefits, liability insurance, and health and safety regulations.

Failure to comply with employment laws can result in legal consequences such as fines and lawsuits. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to prioritize legal compliance in their employment practices.

Implementing an Effective Compliance Program

Identifying Applicable Laws and Regulations

Identifying the applicable laws and regulations that govern your business operations is a crucial step in ensuring legal compliance. This involves conducting thorough research and consulting with legal experts to determine the specific requirements that apply to your industry and business activities. 

Keep in mind that the legal landscape is constantly evolving, so regular updates and reviews of the relevant laws and regulations are essential. By staying informed and up to date, you can avoid potential legal pitfalls and ensure that your business operates within the boundaries of the law.

To assist businesses in this process, Rauva provides a comprehensive compliance checklist that outlines the key legal requirements for Portuguese businesses. This checklist covers areas such as business registration and licensing, tax compliance, and employment laws and regulations.

In addition to the compliance checklist, Rauva offers a range of resources and services to support businesses in their compliance efforts. This includes access to accounting services provided by certified partners, automated monthly business reports, and integration with platforms for compliant invoicing.

Remember: ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. It is the responsibility of every business owner to be aware of and comply with the applicable laws and regulations.

Establishing Policies and Procedures

Establishing policies and procedures is a crucial step in implementing an effective compliance program for Portuguese businesses. These policies and procedures serve as a guide for employees to follow, ensuring that they are aware of their responsibilities and obligations. By clearly outlining expectations and providing guidelines, businesses can minimize the risk of non-compliance and promote a culture of ethical behavior

Businesses should also consider establishing a compliance committee to oversee the implementation and enforcement of these policies and procedures. This committee can provide guidance, monitor compliance efforts, and address any compliance-related issues that may arise.

Training and Education

Employees need to be informed about the relevant laws and regulations that apply to their roles and responsibilities, so training and education are essential. 

This can be achieved through regular training sessions and workshops, but also through educational materials such as manuals and online resources. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of compliance and the dangers of potential non-compliance. 

By investing in continuous education and providing the necessary resources, businesses can create a culture of compliance and reduce the risk of legal issues.

Training and Education Tips:

  • Conduct regular training sessions and workshops
  • Provide educational materials for reference
  • Emphasize the importance of compliance
  • Invest in continuous education
  • Create a culture of compliance


Ensuring that your business is legally compliant isn't easy, but it's absolutely essential. Even if you're just working as a freelancer, you're still subjected to legal obligations. Understanding Portuguese laws and corporation taxes is more than a strategy for success: it's a basic requirement to avoid catastrophic failure!

Considering the importance and complexity of the matter, ensure that your business is 100% compliant by starting your company with Rauva:

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Written by Bernardo Barbosa

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©Rauva - 2024
Rauva is partnered with Swan who will be providing all payment services to Rauva clients. Rauva does not have access to client funds. Funds are kept in accounts provided by Swan, held in BNP Paribas. Swan is an EMI, based in France, supervised, and regulated by ACPR/Banque de France. Swan is authorized to carry out such services in Portugal and registered with Banco de Portugal under the registration number 7893.
Rauva is not a certified accounting or legal services provider. As such, Rauva does not provide accounting and legal services. Rauva acts as an intermediary who facilitates the introduction to our customers of accounting and legal services Partners who are legally registered and certified in Portugal. A list of Rauva’s Partners can be found here.