In terms of food safety and business inspection, the Food Safety and Business Inspection Authority (ASAE) is the national agency specialising in and responsible for assessing and notifying risks in the food chain, and also supervising businesses in the food and non-food sectors, through inspections and ensuring compliance with the relevant legislation.
As an inspection and market control body covering all business sectors, the ASAE operates in the following areas: Public Health and Food Safety, Industrial Property and Business Practices, Environment and Safety.
Public Health and Food Safety
In the area of public health and food safety, the ASAE has systematically developed the legislation on those subjects included in this area, according to the various types of foodstuff.
Industrial Property and Business Practices
The ASAE has also developed legislation on industrial property and business practices.
Environment and Safety
In addition, the ASAE has developed the legislation applicable in the area of the environment and safety.
The website of the Directorate-General for Customs and Excise Duties provides all the applicable national and EU legislation in the area of Excise Duties.
Trade licensing requirements
Certain business activities involving the sale of foodstuffs and also some non-food establishments and services can pose risks in terms of personal health and safety and also compliance with occupational health and safety rules.
In order to set up, alter or close establishments and services that may pose risks to personal health and safety in their operation, Prior Notification is required. Through this Notification, the owner of the establishment or warehouse accepts responsibility for complying with all the requirements imposed on the activity or business of the establishment in question.
In this area, the Directorate-General for Economic Activities is responsible for promoting and developing an institutional environment that is more favourable to business competitiveness and innovation, by supporting the development, implementation, dissemination and assessment of policies aimed at businesses in the processing industry, trade, tourism and services, and by coordinating international relations within the policies defined by government.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
The Directorate-General for Taxation (DGCI) is responsible for administering income taxes, property taxes and excise duties. With regard to Value Added Tax (VAT), the DGCI website provides a range of information on this subject and allows various forms to be viewed and downloaded .
Whenever a commercial transaction is carried out, the consumer is entitled to receive evidence of the transaction. The invoice must contain a range of information allowing the item purchased, seller and purchaser to be identified, among other elements:
- invoice number;
- full identification of the seller and purchaser;
- quantity and description of the items sold or services provided, together with the reference of goods;
- unit price and total price;
- price with and without tax;
- terms of payment;
- place and date of issue.
The invoice (or an equivalent document) must be issued no later than five working days after the item is sold or service performed, otherwise an administrative tax offence will be committed.
Nowadays, a paper invoice can be replaced by an electronic invoice.
The Simplified Business Information (IES) system allows accounting, tax and statistical declaration obligations to be met electronically. As a result of the IES system, all the information that businesses must provide on their annual accounts can be submitted in one go. Through one comprehensive report, this system ensures compliance with four legal obligations imposed on businesses: submission of the annual accounting and tax information declaration; accounts submission fee; submission of statistical information to the National Institute of Statistics (INE); and submission of information on annual accounting data for statistical purposes to the Banco de Portugal.
This information is submitted by completing comprehensive forms approved by Order No 208/2007.
The information can be submitted electronically to the Ministry of Finance, via the Tax Gateway.
Mediation involves the parties, assisted by an impartial third party acting as mediator, trying to reach an agreement to settle the dispute between them. Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator has no decision-making authority and therefore does not make any decision or award. As an impartial third party, the mediator guides the parties and helps them to communicate so that they themselves can reach an agreement to end the dispute. The parties are therefore responsible for the decisions that they make with the mediator’s help.
An order of the Minister for Justice has authorised Arbitration Centres, which, in addition to providing information, can help citizens with mediation and conciliation and, if an agreement cannot be reached in one of these ways, Arbitration in the form of an Arbitral Tribunal.
These Arbitration Centres are organised according to territorial jurisdiction (geographical area), subject-matter (type of dispute that they can resolve) and, as a rule, value (limit on the value of disputes). They cover all disputes resulting from the purchase of goods, products or services by a consumer.