Practice Areas: Sports Law

Abreu Advogados supports Portuguese Physical Exercise Professionals in having their profession equated to that of paramedics

Abreu Advogados is accompanying the Portuguese Association of Physical Exercise Professionals (APTEF) in publicising the results of a legal opinion the Association requested that clearly points to the possibility of equating the activity of Physical Exercise Professionals with that of paramedics, with tax benefits for those professionals and, consequently, benefits for all Portuguese people who use these services.

The legal opinion was prepared by Abreu Advogados’ team, led by Alexandre Miguel Mestre, of counsel, who is also author of the book ‘Direito do Fitness’ (2018), and Margarida Marques Carvalho, associated partner. It demonstrated that exempting Physical Exercise Professionals from charging VAT, as “paramedic professions”, will, in certain cases such as Personal Trainers, reduce the amount charged for the service, which could lead to greater demand for guided physical training, potentially having a direct impact on health costs borne by the State.

Alexandre Miguel Mestre, of counsel at Abreu Advogados said, “We are very pleased to be working in partnership with APTEF on a subject that is of such public importance. Physical exercise professionals play an important role in promoting sports and healthy lifestyles to the general population. All positive tax measures will have repercussions in terms of the motivation of these professionals and, ultimately, could have an impact on the prices of these services for consumers”.

João Rego, President of the Portuguese Association of Physical Exercise Professionals commented, “This is not a new topic but, as the Association for the sector, we cannot remain indifferent to the results of this legal opinion and we will continue to press for the State to assume, with practical measures, the position it has defended of supporting physical activity among the population

The position expressed is not an isolated one, and is in line with the route that has been taken in Europe, and Portugal cannot fall behind. The analysis of the World Health Organization and European Commission report leaves no room for doubt: only 33%* the Portuguese adult population engages in sufficient physical activity, and the same figure falls to 12%* for adolescents. These figures are much lower than in other countries such as the Czech Republic, where 66%* the adult population has sufficient physical activity”, adds the head of the Portuguese Association of Physical Exercise Professionals.

This equivalence allows the profession of Physical Exercise Professionals to be included in the category of paramedic professions, thereby making it exempt from VAT, in line with the other professions that promote health. Consequently, this could enable a drastic reduction in the amount of VAT that these professionals charge to gymnasiums, which could ultimately be reflected in a reduction in the monthly membership of these establishments, for the benefit of current and future users.

This measure could help to combat the tendency among the Portuguese of not engaging in enough physical exercise. According to Eurobarometer data, disclosed by the Directorate-General of Health (DGS), only 5% of Portuguese people surveyed said they regularly engaged in physical activities, such as cycling, dancing or gardening, which is much lower than the European average of 14%.

APTEF’s position is in line with the sector. Since the content of the legal opinion was made public, other important entities have been working in conjunction with APTEF to outline physical and other measures, all of them more wide-ranging, to promote physical activity in Portugal.

ADTEF is a non-profit professional association that seeks to promote professionals and professions in the area of Physical Exercise.

*https://ec.europa.eu/sport/sites/sport/files/physical-activity-factsheet_who-eu-201811_en.pdf, page 118.