Portugal introduces a new list of activities with high added value for 2020

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Published 2019-07-26 11:00

If you have always wanted to work or set up a business in Portugal, we have some good news for you! The government is introducing a new list of activities with high added value as of January 1st, 2020, allowing more non-habitual residents to enjoy tax incentives provided. The announcement was made by the Portuguese Finance Minister, Mário José Gomes de Freitas Centeno, with the aim of making the country even more attractive in the eyes of foreign professionals.

Thanks to its favourable geographical location, a pleasant climate, a low cost of living, not to mention the access to a vast consumer market, Portugal has become one of the most favourite expat destinations worldwide. In the past few years, economic instability led the Portuguese government to limit the access of foreign professionals seeking the non-habitual resident status to tax benefits, unless they are bringing high added value to Portugal.

However, local businesses are finding it difficult to hire professionals with various qualifications and skills – which convinced the Portuguese government to review its strategy of improving the country's attractiveness in the eyes of foreign professionals. To improve the Portuguese economy and cater to the labour shortage in several sectors, the list of activities with high added value, according to the Portuguese classification of professions has been amended.

Profiles like directors and managers of companies, directors of commercial and administrative services, directors of hotels and restaurants, specialists in physical science, mathematics and engineering, doctors, computer experts, authors, artists and creators, engineers and technicians are now part of this list. Market-oriented agricultural workers, skilled farmers, fishermen and forestry workers, as well as construction professionals and workers from various industries, are also included, provided that they meet the European Qualifications Framework qualification level 4 or International Type of Education Classification level 35 criteria, or they have at least five years of experience in their respective fields.

Regarding managers of companies whose purpose is to promote productive investment, their activities must be related to eligible projects as well as agreements on tax benefit concession according to the Tax Investment Code. It is worth noting that the non-habitual resident status entitles foreign nationals to a special individual income tax (IRS) regime for a period of ten consecutive years, that is a flat rate of 20%.

However, these new provisions will not apply to taxable individual who are already non-habitual residents in Portugal and belong to the list of activities with high added value, even in case of suspension of their status, and to individuals awaiting confirmation of their non-habitual resident status.