Following the legislative change, regarding the
obligation to appoint a fiscal representative of the non-resident and the
situations of exemption from the said obligation, it is significant to make
The tax administration admits that the
application for a tax identification number – NIF (Portuguese fiscal number) by
non-residents citizens may not be carried out due to the legal requirement to
appoint a fiscal representative.
It only requires the appointment of a fiscal
representative in Portugal when, in the context of a legal tax relationship to
be established, it is necessary to advise non-resident and ensure the necessary
contact between them and the tax administration to enable the full exercise of
their rights and compliance with their obligations.
Unlike the previous article, which contained
the obligation of the non-residents in Portugal to appoint a fiscal
representative, a citizen who has no tax domicile in Portugal, the European
Union, or the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein), does
not meet the legal requirements to have the tax resident status, is not a
taxpayer, and is not subject to compliance with obligations nor intends to
exercise any rights vis-à-vis the tax administration, is not required to appoint
a tax representative.
The deadline to appoint a tax representative is
15 days, except in the case of starting a self-employed activity since in this
situation you will have to make the appointment at the time of the registration
of your start-up.
For non-resident citizens, with an address in
an EU/EEA country, this appointment is always optional. Consequently, as tax
representation is a way of overcoming the inability of the represented person
to exercise rights and comply with tax obligations, the legal imposition of its
designation should be reconducted to the context of a tax relationship
established, or to be established with the tax authorities at a later stage.
As regards the registration and attribution of
the NIF to a national or foreign citizen, as a non-resident, with an address in
a third country, that is, in a country that does not belong to the European
Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), the appointment of a tax
representative is not mandatory.
However, the appointment of a fiscal
representative becomes mandatory if, after obtaining the NIF as a non-resident
and while living in a third country, he/she: a) owns a vehicle, or/and
real estate in Portuguese territory; b) enters into an employment contract in
Portuguese territory; c) exercise an activity as a self-employed person in
The limit to comply with the obligation to
appoint a fiscal representative or to subscribe to the electronic notifications
tax authorities is 15 days from the fact.
The tax representative assures his
representative of the receiving of the correspondence sent by the tax
administration, the fulfillment of all the accessory tax duties, and the
exercise of his rights before the tax administration. However, the tax
representative is not responsible for the payment of the non-resident citizen's
He will only be liable under an exception, in
case the non-resident citizen exercises a self-employed activity subject to
VAT, considering there is a joint and several liabilities of the fiscal
representative of the non-resident citizen.
The failure to appoint a tax representative,
when mandatory, as well as the appointment that omits the representative's
acceptance, is punishable by a fine from €75.00 to €7.500,00, being the
non-resident citizen unable to exercise any rights to the tax administration,
including those of complaint, appeal or contest.