Treatment of fire charges is tricky in almost all jurisdictions. Fire coverage can vary from as high as 100% to 20%.

No-one would dispute that the most complex fire charge treatment is in Spain. In Portugal, whilst the rules are less complex, they have a unique reporting system for how the policies covering fire must be reported.

How Portuguese Fire Brigade Tax reporting is unique

The Portuguese Fire Brigade Tax (FBT), otherwise known as National Authority for Civil Protection Fire Brigade Charge or ANPC (Autoridade Nacional de Proteção Civil), is due on certain policies covering fire risks. Such policies can be mapped as Class 3-13.

The tax rate is 13%, but usually the fire coverage is set at 30%, so the applied rate is only 3.9%. As per market practice, if the fire proportion is not separately identified in the policy, then 30% fire proportion is assumed. ANPC is settled to the ASF (Autoridade de Supervisão de Seguros e Fundos de Pensões), the body that administrates parafiscal taxes in Portugal, on a monthly basis together with the other parafiscal taxes such as INEM (medical emergencies). There is currently no speciality in the regulation.

The unique feature of the Portuguese fire tax is the five yearly reporting requirement. This five yearly report was last due in 2016 and will be due again in 2021. The report requires insurers to prepare a summary which lists total ANPC or Fire taxes paid in respect of the year when it’s due. So although the report itself is due every five years, the reportable policies are limited only to the policies subject to ANPC in that reporting year.

Another unique feature of this reporting is that although all insurers are subject to settle ANPC liabilities monthly, not all insurers are necessarily obliged to submit this report. ASF informs the insurance companies who are required to submit this report.

How to report Portugal’s Fire Brigade Tax

Reporting is biannual. In 2016 the first semester data (01-01-2016 to 30-06-2016) was due to be reported by 31 August 2016 and the second semester data (01-07-2016 to 31-12-2016) was due by 28 February 2017.

In 2016, when this report was last due, ASF issued an official circular about the reporting requirements. A template has been published to provide help for insurance companies to fulfil their obligations.

In 2016 the report requested a total of the ANPC charges per county and per district. That included more than 300 districts. As yet, we’ve not seen a circular about the requirements for 2021, so we’re in contact with ASF to find out if the report is still due and if yes, the requirements and when the notifications will be sent to the insurance companies.

We hope the complexity of this reporting hasn’t been further increased by the ASF. This unique reporting is time consuming for insurance companies and looking at the global trends in reporting requirements we expect the FBT report will still be due this year.

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Meet the Expert is our series of blogs where we share more about the team behind our innovative software and managed services. As a global organisation with indirect tax experts across all regions, our dedicated team are often the first to know about new regulatory changes, ensuring you stay compliant.

We spoke to Christina Wilcox, Director of Customer Success, EMEA at Sovos to find out more about the role her team has in delivering an excellent service to customers.

What is your role and what does it involve?

I manage the customer success team for the EMEA region. It’s a relatively new team having started in November last year. Before this role I was part of the Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) team. Our Senior Customer Success Manager, Roberta Folta, worked in the VAT side of our business. So together we have key areas of indirect tax covered. We understand both the market and the key priorities and challenges our customers face.

This is key to helping us make sure our customers get the best value from Sovos across the board. From our consultancy and managed services to our VAT and IPT compliance software. We proactively reach out to customers and then apply their feedback. So we’re always aligned and can improving our service offering to meet their changing needs.

Why is the customer success team an important part of Sovos?

Providing a personal approach and excellent customer service has always been important for us as a company; the customers who have been with us for over a decade are testament to that.

Having a dedicated customer success team gives us the opportunity to continue to connect with our customers from the moment they sign their contract, as well as strengthening the relationships we have with existing customers.

As a separate department this enables our software and services teams to focus on delivering the wide range of offerings we’re known for. The Customer Success team acts as the friendly face that’s always here to help.

For example, software customers don’t have the need to interact with us as much as our managed service customers. So we can focus on providing regular check-ins and see if there’s anything they need help with. We can check if there are additional services we can provide such as further training.

The team also helps with onboarding new customers. We make sure they understand all the services and solutions available to them as a Sovos customer. Our focus is on creating long-standing and strong customer relationships; being approachable and proactive to any potential concerns or questions that could arise.

What is the most common feedback you get from customers?

Customers are always impressed with our managed service offering. People are very happy with the service our compliance teams provide to ensure tax returns are filed correctly and on time. They recognise the benefit of having access to our knowledgeable team of in-house tax experts. Being a global company, we’ve got experience of mandates in other parts of the world. So we can really help customers prepare for the shift to real-time reporting. This is prevalent across Latin America and now spreading throughout Europe and other parts of the world where our customers operate.

We also get great reviews on how intuitive and user friendly our software is.

Customers refer to us as their tax gurus. I think reflects our global knowledge and experience which we pass on through our monthly newsletters, blogs, and regular webinars on everything relating to the world of VAT and IPT.

The feedback we receive from customers, good or bad, helps us continue to meet their needs by being incorporated into planning for future developments.

We’re very much looking forward to the future and speaking with more of our customers to help build the best service offering we can.

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