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NIF Portugal: The Essence

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All you need to know about NIF Portugal

Since 1979, there has been a uniform tax number in Portugal (número de identificação fiscal). Nowadays, it is shortly called NIF. Anyone who carries out a tax-relevant act in Portugal is obliged to have a tax number.

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For each tax-relevant act (e.g., purchase of a property, taking up an activity), a tax number must be requested in Portugal.

In addition to the personal status and identity card, the tax number is one of the most important identification data in Portuguese notary and authority practice. While, for example, the date of birth may be missing in public documents, the tax number is mandatory. A legal person must also apply for an identification number before starting his activity, which is at the same time the tax number and the registration number of the commercial register. Nowadays, getting NIF Portugal is not a problem at all since there are professionals who help with it.

In 1999, the issue of tax numbers was computerized, i.e., since then, it has been assigned using a computer program. In addition, the holders of a tax number received a tax statement in the form of a credit card. The tax number is valid for life and remains beyond death.

How to apply

application for a tax number

The application for a tax number is submitted to a tax office. As mentioned at the beginning, anyone working in Portugal or potentially taxable needs a tax number. This also applies to people who regularly live abroad. One can speak of “residents” and “non-residents” in the sense of tax law. Tax-law “resident” is someone who lives in Portugal for more than 183 days a year. Someone who is resident in Portugal for more than 183 days a year is classified as subject to tax in Portugal. Anyone subject to tax is generally obliged to tax their entire income in Portugal. It also applies to pensions.

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183 days: truly important

Anyone who stays in Portugal for less than 183 days a year should make sure that their status as a “non-resident” is registered with the tax office. The ” non-resident ” tax number is no different from that of a “resident.” However, the “non-resident” must appoint a tax representative (also called a fiscal representative).

Many foreign citizens are registered as tax-law “residents” in Portugal, although they are only in Portugal for a few weeks or months a year. This is a violation of the law. Failure to comply with the obligation to appoint a tax representative will be punished with € 50.00 to 5,000.00. In addition, this can be dangerous if you are registered as a resident but do not file tax returns in Portugal.

Since the tax office did not previously require proof of residence, applicants were registered as “residents” under tax law in Portugal. Meanwhile, the issuance of a tax number with the status “resident” depends on the presentation of the European residence certificate (Certificado de Residência).

The “non-resident” who does not stay in Portugal for more than 183 days a year must, as just mentioned, appoint a tax representative. He must usually be resident in Portugal. His  main task is to receive the tax assessments and forward them to the taxpayer. On the other hand, tax returns and objections to tax assessments are initiated by accountants and lawyers. In this context, we should note that the profession of tax consultant does not exist in Portugal. Under certain circumstances, the fiscal representative is liable for tax liabilities together with the taxpayer.

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In addition, the law provides that the “non-resident” taxpayer cannot defend himself against files of the tax administration if he has not appointed a tax representative. In particular, due to the aforementioned liability risk, Portugal’s fiscal representations are usually subject to a fee (approx. 200-350 €/year). The fiscal representation is usually taken over by companies that have secured themselves against claims of the tax office under liability law through their corporate form.

All in all, it is pretty difficult to explain all the minor details in a simple article. We recommend finding a reliable company that will go through this path with you: there will be no problems and money wasted.

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