​​Recibos Verdes: what they are, how to open and advantages


Are you moving to Portugal and plan to work independently? So, you need to know what are the recibos verdes (green receipts), as they will be essential for you to work as a freelancer and issue invoices to your clients.

What are “green receipts” in Portugal?

Green Receipts in Portugal are invoices, receipts, or invoice receipts that must be issued by self-employed workers whenever they provide a service to a customer or even the transfer of goods (sale of products).

In short, green receipts are the invoices that you, the freelancer, must issue to comply with Portugal’s tax obligations.

Who can issue green receipts?

Any self-employed person can issue green receipts, as long as they are not employed by the specific company that you will be providing the service as a self-employed person.

But, if you have a fixed contract with a company and want to work as a freelancer for another company, you can have the green receipts and issue them for this other firm.

For which professionals is the green receipt indicated?

In Portugal there is a huge list of professionals (activities) that can be performed to issue green receipts and are classified into:

• CIRS: means the Personal Income Tax Code whose list of activities is quite large and is described in article 151 of the IRS code;

• CAE: whose acronym is Code of Economic Activity which is used for self-employed workers, but who carry out an activity at the business level, that is, they carry out a set of activities provided for by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

Open activity in Finanças

You can do this in person at any Finance unit spread across the country or at the Citizen’s Shop in the city where you have decided to live in Portugal, or you can also do it online at the Portal das Finanças.

To open the activity in person, you will need to bring your NIF and your Residence Card or passport.

To do it online, you will need access to the Portal das Finanças and follow these step-by-step instructions:

• Enter the portal with your NIF and password;

• On the left side menu, go to “Todos os Serviços / All services”;

• Find the option “Iniciar Atividade / Initiation of Activity” and choose “Entregar Declaração / Deliver Statement”;

• Fill in all the fields requested on the form, including the CIRS activity code that can be found in article 151 of the IRS and/or CAE code, made available by the National Institute of Statistics;

• Check all filled fields and press “Submeter / Submit”;

• Wait for a letter from the Finanças to be received at the tax address that you provided stating that your activity is open. 

Advantages of working on green receipts

Work from anywhere: as you don’t need to go to a specific company, you can have your own office or work in the park, on the beach, in a cafe, in the library, traveling the world, etc.

Make your own schedule: there will be days when you will work a lot of extra hours, but there will also be days when you will work very few hours or simply take the day off to take care of yourself. If you prefer to work late at night, no problem, you make your own schedule.

You can have several different jobs: many freelancers have several clients and organize themselves to serve all of them. That way, you don’t get tired of the work.

Vacation at any time: as you are your own boss, you can plan and organize your vacation whenever and for as long as you like.

How to close your green receipt activity?

If by any chance you give up working with green receipts in Portugal, you need to close the activity, otherwise you will continue to pay taxes and Social Security contribution and you can do that online. It’’ very easy, check it out:

• Enter on the portal with your NIF and password;

• On the left side menu, go to “Todos os Serviços / All services”;

• Find the option “Cessação de Atividade / Cessation of Activity” and go to “Enviar Declaração / Send Declaration”;

• Fill in all the data on the form and press the “Submeter / Submit” button;

• Wait a few days until you receive a letter to your tax address with proof of termination of your activity.

Important: do this procedure as soon as you stop working with the company to avoid fines with the Finanças.