Appointing a Fiscal Representative
It is mandatory to appoint a Fiscal Representative whenever a third-country national who is not resident in Portugal has income arising in Portugal. Alternatively, although residing in the national territory, an individual is absent for a period exceeding six months and obtains income in Portugal subject to Portuguese taxation. For a non-resident to start the process of appointing a tax representative in Portugal, the taxpayers must have a Fiscal Number (“NIF”) and a password (“senha”) to be identified on the Finanças Portal.
Changing your Fiscal Representative
Fiscal Representation can now be altered on line with no need to go in person to the Tax Office.
Representees will need their “NIF” and password (“senha”) and then follow the following steps outlined on the “AT” website. In addition, the email address and telephone must be updated on the Contact Details web page “Dados de Contacto”.
It is also a legal requirement that all non-residents, wishing to acquire the D2 Visa designed for investors in Portugal, appoint a Fiscal Representative in Portugal. The Fiscal Representative is legally responsible for informing the taxpayer about tax obligations and other charges, ensuring contact with the “AT”, informing the taxpayer of fiscal requirements and ensuring that payment is made within deadlines. Any foreign national wishing to start a self-employed activity (sole trader), or to set up an individual company or a limited company, must appoint a Fiscal Representative in VAT, who is also a VAT-taxable person. This applies even if the taxpayer does not exceed the VAT exemption limit of Article nº53 of the CIVA.
Fiscal Representation when temporarily Non-Resident
According to article nº19 of the General Tax Law, persons who cease to be tax residents of Portugal or who are absent from Portuguese territory for a period exceeding six months, in a country outside the EU or the EEA, are obliged to register with the services of the “AT” a Fiscal Representative with residence or headquarters in Portugal to represent them in Portugal. Failure to do so can lead to a fine of €50 - €5,000. Any person or legal person accepting the appointment can be the Fiscal Representative, provided that he or she is resident in Portugal or, in the case of a company, has its seat in Portuguese territory.
Responsibility of the Fiscal Representative
The Fiscal Representative is responsible for ensuring compliance with accessory tax obligations, such as obtaining the tax identification number of the non-resident (“NIF”), submitting tax declarations (Modelo 3, Modelo 22, IES, VAT), keeping records to verify expenses and income and providing any requested clarifications to “AT”.
The Fiscal Representative may respond for tax violations of the person that he represents, but can never be required to pay taxes owed by the representee. Only in an instance of acting as appointed manager of assets or rights of the emigrant is the Fiscal Representative jointly liable for all contributions and taxes of the non-resident, thus being obliged to pay the taxes of the representee. The representative has the right of appeal and may challenge decisions made by the “AT”.
“Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF)”
A NIF is assigned at the moment of the request, made by verbal declaration by the foreign national, resulting in the immediate availability of a document verifying the taxpayer’s registration, with the mention of the “NIF” (Fiscal Number). The application for “NIF” can also be made without the presence of the representee. In this case, the tax identification number must be requested directly by the Fiscal Representative accompanied by a certified copy of the passport and a power of attorney specific to the purpose from the representee.
Dennis Swing Greene is Chairman and International Fiscal Consultant for euroFINESCO s.a. www.eurofinesco.com