The Portuguese tax identification number, also known as “número de contribuinte” or more commonly as “NIF”, is a taxpayer number which allows individual citizens as well as companies to identify themselves to the Tax and Customs Authority in Portugal (AT - Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira, also known as “Finanças”).
This tax payer number is composed of 9 digits and is unique to each person or company. In both cases, it is generally referred to as “NIF”:
NIF - Número de Identificação Fiscal: The individual taxpayer number is linked to that person forever. The number is automatically assigned with the Portuguese citizen card, or can be requested separately.
NIPC - Número de Identificação de Pessoa Colectiva: The NIF for Companies is the tax number used in Portugal to unequivocally identify a company in financial transactions and tax payments (IRC).
A personal NIF is included in the information on the back of the Portuguese Citizen's Card (N.º de Identificação Fiscal), and is assigned automatically when this identification document is first requested.
However, anyone can request a NIF number, regardless of citizenship or residency in Portugal.
Why do I need a NIF in Portugal?
You will need a NIF number to do just about anything in Portugal. If you are currently in the process of investing in Portugal or moving to Portugal, even if only for a short-term residency, it is advisable to request your NIF as soon as possible as it will be required to do a number of things, such as:
Opening a bank account;
Buying or renting a property;
Buying a car;
Setting up a television, telephone or Internet service;
Signing a work contract;
Paying annual income taxes.
Contrary to other countries in which a Social Security, ID or Passport number may be used for these purposes, in Portugal it is mandatory to present your NIF number.
Additional benefits of requesting a NIF number in Portugal
Presenting your NIF number in Portugal may also guarantee you tax benefits or reductions in the annual amount of taxes you have to pay to the Portuguese Tax Authority.
For example, when you go to a restaurant or when you buy medicine at the pharmacy and ask for an invoice to be issued with your NIF, you automatically qualify for tax deductions in special IRS categories that are available for these types of payments.
READ MORE about the benefits of including your Portuguese NIF on receipts
How to request a NIF number in Portugal?
You can request a NIF number at any tax office in Portugal (Serviço de Finanças), Loja de Cidadão or at the offices where the Portuguese Cartão de Cidadão (Citizen's Card) is issued (when requesting this document, the NIF number is simultaneously issued).
If you are a non-resident in Portugal, you only need three documents to request a NIF:
Passport or personal identification document;
Proof of address from the country of origin (it can be an electricity, water or Internet bill, for example);
Document proving the fiscal representative's acceptance to perform this function.
Why do I need a Fiscal Representative to request a NIF number?
In Portugal, a fiscal representative is the link between the Portuguese Tax Authority and a non-resident individual or company.
If you are a non-resident in Portugal, it is legally mandatory to appoint a fiscal representative in order to request a NIF.
Although EU citizens are not obliged to appoint a fiscal representative, due to COVID safety measures NIF numbers are normally requested online and the system only accepts requests made by a fiscal representative. This is the only way to process the application remotely.
In order to request a NIF number for a foreign citizen, the fiscal representative must present his/her:
Citizen Card or Permanent Residence Card;
and confirm his/her address in Portugal (a fiscal representative must have permanent residency in Portugal, even if he/she is not Portuguese).
The NIF is then assigned and the address associated with it is your fiscal representative’s address. From this point on, your fiscal representative is responsible for fulfilling all your tax responsibilities in Portugal.
Receiving correspondence concerning your taxes in Portugal and informing you at all times in order to meet legal deadlines;
Receiving your fees and taxes;
Ensuring the payment of all your taxes and possible fines;
Making tax-related claims, requesting appeals and disputes on your behalf, if and whenever necessary.
If you require fiscal representation in Portugal, we strongly suggest hiring a professional accounting company or certified Portuguese accountant with experience working with foreigners.
Although anyone with residency in Portugal can be appointed as a fiscal representative, a professional accountant will help you to make the best decisions, avoiding possible fines or unexpected tax costs that may arise from being unfamiliar with the Portuguese tax system.
If you decide to live in Portugal in the future, after a few months you can request that the Portuguese Tax Authority remove the fiscal representation attached to your name and NIF. You only need to present proof of residency, such as a home rental contract stating your address in Portugal or a certificate (Atestado de Residência) that you can request at your local Junta de Freguesia.
To know more about requesting a NIF number or fiscal representation in Portugal, please contact us. Our team will be happy to help you!