Which Professions Benefit from Portugal’s NHR regime?

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Originally published in Nov 2022 & last updated on November 20, 2023
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For working professionals considering a move to Portugal, one of the main draws – apart from the great weather, beautiful food, and laid-back lifestyle – is Portugal’s NHR tax regime. Those with qualifying types of income can choose to be taxed under the NHR regime rather than standard Portuguese tax rates. And, depending on certain factors like how much you earn, being taxed under the NHR regime may make a lot of financial sense. Under the NHR regime, jobs that meet the “high value activity” eligibility are taxed at a flat rate of 20% (social security is calculated separately).

Unfortunately, not all professions are considered high value activities, which are the types of income that can be taxed under NHR. According to Newco, as of January 1st 2020, the following high-value activities qualify for NHR:

112 – The general director or executive manager of a company
12 – Directors of administrative and commercial services
13 – Directors of production and specialised services
14 – Directors of hotels, restaurants, commercial, or other services
21 – Specialists working in physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, and similar technical fields
221 – Physicians
2261 – Dentists and stomatologists
231 – Teachers at universities and higher learning establishments
25 – Specialists in information and communication technologies (ICT)
264 – Authors, journalists, and linguists
265 – Creative artists and performing artists
31 – Intermediate level science and engineering technicians and professionals
35 – Information and communication technologies technicians
61 – Market-oriented farmers and qualified agricultural and livestock workers
62 – Market-oriented qualified forestry, fisheries and hunting workers
7 – Qualified industrial, construction workers and craftsmen, including qualified workers in the fields of metallurgy, metalworking, food processing, wood manufacturing, clothing production, handicrafts, printing, manufacture of precision instruments, jewellers, artisans, electricity and electronics workers
8 – Operators of installations and machines and assembly workers, namely fixed installations and machine operators

This applies to both freelancers and employees and to both Portuguese and foreign-sourced income. According to Paula Santos from Tax Team Consulting, the focus is on the activity itself. “As long as it’s a high-value activity and the contract between the company and individual mentions the specific activity. For self-employed people, the contract can be used to show the high-value activity or you can also show the qualification the individual has.”

The list of eligible professions changes every few years, but Santos says that even if your profession isn’t included on the list in the future, you will still get the full 10 years under the NHR regime. And even if your profession isn’t included on this list, you should still apply anyway.

“You should always apply when you arrive as, even if you don’t benefit from NHR in the first year, a lot can happen in 10 years and you may benefit from NHR in the future.”

Want to know more about NHR? Be sure to read our complete guide to Portugal’s NHR tax regime

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

You can contact James by emailing james@portugalist.com or via the site's contact form. This article includes contributions from Paula Santos, an accountant at Tax Team Consulting.

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