Those relocating to Portugal will soon discover that having a Portuguese Taxpayer Number (locally known as NIF – Número de Identificação Fiscal) is required for conducting business and engaging with governmental authorities for the purposes of almost anything.
To give a rough idea you are required to hold a Portuguese taxpayer identification number for the purpose of engaging the judicial system; opening a bank account; buying, renting or selling real estate property; buying or selling a car; incorporate a company; enrolling your kids in school (yes, your kids do need to have a NIF too); applying for membership with a professional guild; applying for residency; registering a trademark or patent; receive inheritance; celebrate any type of contract, etc…
Notwithstanding the above it is important to take into account that taxpayer number numbers are associated with one the following tax residency status:
- Resident: generally speaking those who have lived for more than 183 days (consecutive or not) in Portugal in any period of 12 months starting or ending in the relevant year; or having a house, at any time throughout the 12-month period, in such conditions that allow to presume the intention to hold and occupy it as the habitual place of residence.
Those qualifying as non-resident, or being registered as such, are required under to law to appoint a a tax representative, who can be a and individual or an entity with tax residency in Portugal. The only exception to this rule is those taxpayers residing in another European Union Member-State.
The consequences of the lack of a tax representative are close to those concerning the lack of NIF. In other words, anyone who is non-resident taxpayer abroad and does not have a appoint tax representative in Portugal cannot exercise the rights of complaint, appeal or challenge. Furthermore, “the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority may rectify the tax residency of non-residency on its own initiative based on the information at their disposal”, with all the tax and reporting obligations that such action may incur.
Given the above the appoint a tax representative is of the utmost importance for those qualifying as non-residents outside the European Union and should establish tax representation through contract with an experienced representative. We at MCS have been providing such service for more than 20 years to international investors and expats alike.
Do not hesitate to contact our team should you have any questions.
Miguel Pinto-Correia holds a Master Degree in International Economics and European Studies from ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics & Management and a Bachelor Degree in Economics from Nova School of Business and Economics. He is a permanent member of the Order of the Economists (Ordem dos Economistas)… Read more