Meet Sara Aguiar, Our Tax Consultant and Payroll Specialist From Portugal
Today we decided to catch up with Sara Aguiar, our Native Teams Tax Consultant and Payroll Specialist.
Read the interview below and get to know her a little better. 👇
Hi Sara, thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule for us! How are you doing today?
Hello! I am doing well, Summer is almost here, and I can’t wait to take a swim in the Ocean! 🌊
You joined Native Teams as a Tax Consultant and Payroll Specialist and are now part of our Finance Team. Could you please tell us more about your role and your daily tasks?
Of course! Currently I am working as a Tax Consultant, and also as a Payroll Specialist.
As a Tax Consultant, I am mainly focused on clarifying some tax queries and issues that the employees might have, I help the clients/employees to optimize their tax burden, and that implies keeping track of the most recent legal updates regarding taxation.
Since I am also doing payroll – which is highly connected with taxation! – I do all the necessary controls to ensure that the employees receive the appropriate payment, that all taxes and contributions are paid, and that we stay compliant with local regulations.
Since we, at Native Teams, work all together, I also collaborate with different teams to ensure that payroll processing and benefits administration is accurate and timely.
I would say it’s a challenging job, but I really love it, and I couldn’t be happier with the opportunity to be working at Native Teams!
How did your professional career develop, and what sparked your interest in tax?
I started working as an Administrative Assistant, while I was in the first year of my Master’s Degree. This experience allowed me to learn how to elaborate reports, write and distribute emails, correspondence memos, and also how to develop and maintain a filing system.
When I was doing my Master Thesis, I started working in the Banking Sector as a Compliance Analyst. My main responsibility was to detect atypical operations that weren’t in compliance with Sanctions & Embargoes, Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Regulations. I developed my “attention to detail” skills, because that required lots of focus, in order not to accept a transaction that was not compliant.
After this experience, I decided to experience a different area, which is also of my interest: I started working as a Customs Assistant. In this job position, my main tasks were related to analysis and disclosure of International Trade legislation, technical and legal support in handling customs clearance processes, monitoring of processes with the Customs Authority, and support in the execution of queries related to daily import and export operations. I really enjoyed the experience as it allowed me to learn to take ownership of certain tasks and projects, and it contributed a lot to my ability to communicate with official entities, such as the Tax and Customs Authority.
Even though it was an amazing experience, I got the opportunity to start working as a Tax Consultant, and I couldn’t be happier – because, for those who don’t know, I love taxation! 💸
I worked in different areas of taxation, such as income, consumption and wealth taxes. My main area of interest is income taxation!
While I was studying, I didn’t know, at first, which area would spark my interest. When I started studying topics related to Tax Law, I realized that would be the area where I would like to specialize.
After graduating, I started a Master Degree in Tax Law, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with this choice! I believe in the purpose for which taxes were created: to serve the needs of the Public Interest. By paying taxes, we are contributing to public services and public safety – and this was my main motivation for coming to this area: knowing that we all have to contribute to the Public Interest, and that even if we optimize our tax burden (within the legal frames!😁), we are still cooperating to something bigger than ourselves – the functioning of the public sector and services!
When did you first hear about Native Teams, and what motivated you to join us?
At some point when I was working as a Tax Consultant, I wanted to do the same job, but in a start-up environment, which would allow me to have a better work-life balance.
I heard about Native Teams in November 2022, when I was actively looking for an opportunity in my field, but in a younger and more dynamic environment.
I opened LinkedIn, and I came across an alert for a vacancy at Native Teams. I went to investigate the company, and frankly, I loved the concept of the company! I didn’t even think twice, considered it could be a good bet, and sent my CV.
Lucky me to have been selected! 🎉
As more professionals embrace freelancing and digital nomad lifestyles, what are some key tax considerations they should be aware of?
I would say, first, to look for a country where freelancers and digital nomads want to live, because besides work, quality of life is something to look forward to!! It is also important to understand how taxes will get paid, but that can be quite complicated sometimes.
Hiring digital nomads allows companies to have outstanding talents in the company while also providing employees attractive benefits such as work-life balance and highly flexible work. However, paying taxes and salaries and staying compliant with the local regulations can be a challenge.
Also, working as a freelancer can be quite challenging in terms of paying taxes and contributions, because the freelancer is the person responsible for taking care of the finance side of the business, as well.
Digital nomads and/or freelancers have (also) to pay taxes, but some specific aspects related to how much they pay in taxes and to whom will depend on factors like their country of origin and where they were when the money was earned.
So, my main recommendation is: don’t panic! Wherever you are working, there are companies like Native Teams that can assist you and your employees to ensure compliance when it comes to legal and tax issues! 🏆
What recommendations do you have for individuals who work remotely in one country but are tax residents of another in terms of cross-border tax issues?
Luckily, we have a wide range of tax treaties between different countries. In general terms, the treaties clarify how and where income will be taxed – i.e. either in the state of residence of the employee or in the state of source of income.
These treaties arise precisely to avoid the same person being taxed twice for the same type of income. The objective, on a broad perspective, is to facilitate cross-border transactions and investment by eliminating the tax impediments to these cross-border flows. This also includes hiring at a cross-border level.
In geographies where no tax treaty applies, taxation is usually set up as soon as the employee exercises employment in the country. Depending on the local rules, this might trigger registration requirements for the employer to withhold tax, social security, or both. As a general rule, most of the countries have internal rules to eliminate double taxation as well.
I would say that this is the main aspect to take into account, and here at Native Teams we have enlightened quite a few remote workers who intend, precisely, to live in one country, while making their deductions for another country!
What advice do you have for remote workers or freelancers on structuring their finances and income streams to minimize their tax liabilities?
Seek advice from people specialized in taxation, as fortunately there are various tax benefits, in several countries, which can help minimize the tax burden remote workers or freelancers have to bear.
On top of that, it is really important to create a budget in order to track your income and expenses, schedule your invoices to get paid on time, and decide how much you want to pay yourself.
Last but not least, if you need any kind of assistance – because dealing with numbers and taxes can be difficult sometimes -, remind yourself that Native Teams is here to support you! ☀️
Have you encountered any unique or interesting cases related to tax issues and remote work that you can share with us?
One of the interesting cases that I always find is related to Visas, because the typology of Visa will determine the tax responsibility of the remote worker.
The requirements vary by country-per-country, and depending on the type of Visa, you can either be considered a non-habitual resident, or, even, a resident!
And if you are a non-habitual resident, the taxes you need to pay may be different from the habitual residents, because there can be a tax benefit associated.
In your opinion, what does the future hold for remote work and its impact on tax regulations? How can Native Teams help with that?
Remote working existed even before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it was not such a “usual” practice, and recently it has become a trend.
Since the 1980s we have been facing globalization, and with remote working, we have gone from a mere “possible option”, to a real trend, which has been growing.
I believe it is a great option for companies, as they will be able to hire talents in the most varied geographies – without harming the quality of the work, nor the flow of operations, as companies are increasingly betting on global talents, and on asynchronous work.
Native Teams plays an important role in expanding business on a global scale as it has a presence in several geographies, which is a beneficial point for companies that may not be based in a certain geography, but want to recruit talent in that country.
It is at this stage of the process that Native Teams acts as an employer of record, and facilitates the hiring process on a global scale!
Now, let’s talk more about you! What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I love doing movie sessions at the end of the day, sitting on the sofa with biscuits and a mug of tea.
But I also like to go for walks, discover new places, and I’m always thinking about the next trip!
I’m also passionate about music, and I’d say I’m a “great” singer in the shower, my shampoo bottles “love” my concerts! 🎤
I am also passionate about cats, I have Dora (my cat) and I am training her to become a super “mewodel” 🐈⬛ I love spending time with Dora, just playing around the house, taking lots of pictures, she is a great company!
We know you’re into music, nature, spending time with friends, and exploring delicious food. So, how would you describe a perfect weekend?
The perfect weekend would be: an afternoon spent with friends in a nature park, with home cooked food (my favorite!), play some volleyball as I am also a fan of sports, and to finish the evening watching sunset, playing some jam sessions! I have lots of friends who play guitar, percussion, and whenever we get together, we have an amazing party! I love to sing, not only for the shampoo bottles 😁
What is the craziest thing you’ve done in your life and what is still on your bucket list?
The craziest thing I ever did I would say was the “Fantasticable”, which is considered the longest slide in Europe. At 1.538 meters long, it stretches from one mountain to the other. It was magical, I felt like I was flying – and I’m afraid of heights!
On my wishlist I aim to try canyoning! I love water activities 💪
What is your go-to song or playlist when you want to get hyped?
I love listening to every type of music gender, but there are some “classics” that never go out of fashion, and really make me feel in a good mood:
- Vengaboys: We Like to Party;
- Boney M: Daddy Cool;
- ABBA: Dancing Queen;
- Blondie: Heart of Glass;
- Gipsy Kings: Bamboleo
Anything else you would like to share with our readers? Any tax advice, joke, a random fun fact or a must-do when visiting Portugal?
I would say, without any doubt: Come to Portugal, you won’t regret it! We have the Ocean, beautiful cities, amazing gastronomy, and also lots of Natural Parks.
If you like Nature, come to Gerês, it has beautiful nature and lagoons; if you like Castles, go to Palácio da Pena in Sintra; if you want to take a swim in the ocean, you must travel through Costa Vicentina! But these are just some suggestions, we have so much more in Portugal to explore! 🤩
Portugal will make your heart melt, and it’s a perfect place to work remotely, due to the quality of life, but also, for some income tax benefits 😉
Thank you so much for your time and all the amazing advice, Sara, and have a great day!