The NIF is essential for those who want to live, study, work or invest in Portugal, even if they are not tax residents in Portugal.

What do I need a Portuguese NIF for?

The NIF is helpful in all aspects of everyday life. In Portugal, you must have a NIF to:

  • Open a bank account
  • Rent or buy a house
  • Subscribe to services (electricity, water, mobile tariffs, internet, television, etc.)
  • Buy a car
  • Pay taxes
  • Signing a work contract
  • Set up a company
  • Lease a property or undertake a short-term accommodation activity
  • Among others

For companies, the legal person identification number (NIPC) is similar to the NIF but is assigned by the National Register of Legal Persons (RNPC).

How to get a NIF in Portugal

The tax identification number can be requested at any Portuguese tax office or “Loja do Cidadão” government office. It is necessary to present an identification document or passport and proof of residence in Portuguese territory.

Citizens residing in the European Union, Iceland, Norway, or Liechtenstein must present proof of residence in the country of origin and personal identification.

What about Non-Residents?

Any non-resident citizen in Portuguese territory subject to taxation in Portugal must identify with the Portuguese Tax Authority through an NIF. As described above, obtaining the NIF requires the presentation of personal identification and proof of residence.

Non-EU taxpayers may need to appoint a tax representative in Portugal.

Fiscal representation

A fiscal representative (also known as a tax representative) acts mainly as an intermediary between a non-resident individual and the Portuguese Tax Authorities.

As such, the fiscal representative guarantees the fulfilment of certain tax diligences in Portugal, namely:

  • the reception of the correspondence sent by the Portuguese Tax Authorities; and
  • the fulfilment of all the necessary tax duties, including the delivery of tax returns and the exercise of its rights before the Portuguese Tax Authorities, including the ones of complaint, appeal, or impugnation.

If the non-resident taxpayer exercises an activity subject to VAT in Portugal, the fiscal representative must be a VAT taxpayer in Portugal and is also responsible for the payment of taxes of the non-resident.

Do Non-residents in Portugal always need a fiscal representative?

A fiscal representative is not mandatory in all cases. For instance, instead of appointing a fiscal representative, non-resident taxpayers can register to receive information from one of the digital notification channels provided by the Portuguese tax legislation.

Be aware that, for specific cases where non-resident taxpayers undertake a freelance activity in Portugal, the VAT Code still requires the appointment of a fiscal representative (for VAT purposes only) before the beginning of the activity.

When opting for one of the digital communication channels, the taxpayer commits and accepts to be notified exclusively through these channels.

Portuguese tax legislation provides that in most cases, the taxpayers are deemed validly notified 5 days after the digital communication is made available.

Therefore, anyone adhering to this option should be aware that this implies checking these digital channels very frequently to ensure that the notifications are duly received and that the tax deadlines are met.

Key takeaways

To avoid any issues or legal fees, it is crucial that you correctly comply with your tax obligations in Portugal.

NEWCO can help you get your NIF and act as your fiscal representative in Portugal, ensuring that your Portuguese tax obligations are duly met.

NEWCO is your local partner in Portugal. We have 30 years of experience and a versatile and multidisciplinary team that accommodates all your demands:

  • Business Setup and Management
  • Personal and Business Accounting and Tax Compliance
  • Obtaining a NIF and Bank Account
  • Obtaining a Residence Permit
  • Relocating to Portugal
  • Real Estate

Contact us today!