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The fiscal number in Portugal (NIF in Portuguese) is used to identify a natural person by the Portuguese Tax Authority. This number is composed of 9 digits and can be assigned to residents or non-residents in Portugal.
For companies (or any legal persons), there is the legal person identification number (NIPC in Portuguese), which is similar to the NIF but is assigned by the National Register of Legal Persons (RNPC).
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.
The NIF is helpful in all aspects of everyday life. In Portugal, you must have a NIF to:
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 need to present proof of residence in the country of origin and personal identification.
Any non-resident citizen in Portuguese territory subject to taxation in Portugal must identify to the Portuguese Tax Authority through a NIF. As in the situations described above, obtaining the NIF requires the presentation of personal identification and proof of residence.
In case the applicant is resident in a country outside the EU or the European Economic Area (Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein) until recently, it was still necessary to appoint a fiscal representative in Portugal.
However, the Portuguese Government has recently introduced legislative changes that eliminate the need for non-residents to appoint a fiscal representative in Portugal.
As of 9 July 2022, non-residents in Portugal (taxpayers resident outside the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) can register to receive information from one of the digital notification channels provided for in Portuguese tax law.
Therefore, taxpayers adhering to this option should be aware that this implies frequently checking these digital channels to ensure that notifications are appropriately received and that the potential deadlines set out in the Portuguese Tax Authorities' communications are met.
In this regard, we would also like to point out that Portuguese tax law provides that, in most cases, taxpayers are considered validly notified five days after the digital communication has been made available, i.e. there is an administrative presumption that the communication has been well received and acknowledged by the taxpayer.
A fiscal representative is a natural or legal person, resident for tax purposes in Portuguese territory, who agrees to act as an intermediary between the non-resident taxpayer and the Portuguese Tax Authority. If the non-resident taxpayer exercises an activity subject to VAT in Portugal, the fiscal representative must be a VAT taxpayer in Portugal.
The fiscal representative must:
As seen from the obligations mentioned herein, the tax representative must be a competent entity with knowledge of Portuguese tax law. In Portugal, failure to comply with tax obligations results in penalties that are often high but easily avoidable if given the proper attention. It is one of those cases where the easy or the cheap can be very expensive!
Obtaining a NIF (Portuguese Tax Identification Number) is essential for your daily life in Portugal. You can count on us to help you through this process and ensure you comply with your tax obligations in Portugal and be your fiscal representative.
NEWCO is a professional services company specialized in the operationalization of foreign investment in Portugal and Malta. With three decades of experience, we are your one-stop-shop for investments or change of residence to Portugal or Malta.
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