how to get a portugal tax identification number

The NIF number is a unique individual tax identification number used in Portugal assigned by the Portuguese tax authorities. The number is essential to carry out any economic activity in Portugal, such as paying taxes, opening a Portuguese bank account, or signing any contract. In a nutshell, you need it for almost everything.

If you are considering moving to Portugal or are already here, your priority should be getting your NIF. This can seem complicated, but it is pretty straightforward once you understand the process. To help you, we have created this guide walking you through everything you need to know about getting a NIF number in Portugal.

What is the Portuguese tax identification number (NIF Number) in Portugal?

The Portuguese NIF number, also referred to in Portuguese as Número de Identificação Fiscal or the Número de Contribuinte, is an individual tax number. Everyone gets a unique nine-digit number issued by the tax office (autoridade tributária or Finanças). Acquiring a NIF number in Portugal is free.

Who uses the Portuguese taxpayer number?

Anyone residing in Portugal should get a NIF number, including citizens, residents, and foreign non-residents. While it is not mandatory by law to get a NIF, it is necessary for engaging in official or legal fiscal activities such as renting or buying property in Portugal, or signing up for utilities.

This means that most people with financial ties to Portugal use a NIF. Anybody who has signed a legal lease, signed up for WiFi, gotten a bank account, paid taxes, or legally worked in Portugal has used their número de identificação fiscal.  

Where can I use my Portuguese NIF number?

The short answer is that you can use it in every business transaction.

The Portuguese NIF number is used in any official fiscal transaction and business transaction, including:

  • nif number tax identification portugalBuying and selling property
  • Inheriting Portuguese assets 
  • Opening a bank account
  • Acquiring loans, including a mortgage
  • Paying taxes in Portugal (and for getting a tax return)
  • Receiving an income
  • Enrolling in a Portuguese university
  • Receiving social security payments
  • Setting up utilities 
  • Buying a car or applying for a Portuguese driving license
  • Signing a local contract (e.g., a mobile phone contract)

How To Get a NIF Number in Portugal

The process for getting a NIF in Portugal depends on your unique circumstances, such as whether you are a Portuguese resident or non-resident or an EEA/EU resident.

You can apply for a NIF by:

Getting your NIF as a Portuguese resident

This can be as simple as going online. It used to be necessary to visit your local tax office in Lisbon or Porto, however at the moment, waiting times are long and it is no longer necessary to pick up a physical card. Therefore, the easiest solution is to go online.

Ensure you have all the necessary documents (we’ll get into that shortly). Note that the website is only available in Portuguese.

Individuals cannot apply for a NIF through the website unless they have a representative. Therefore, you can contact a lawyer or accountant who can apply for a NIF number on your behalf online.

Getting your NIF remotely

You do not need to be physically present in Portugal to get a NIF. As a non-resident, you can apply from outside Portugal via a representative such as a lawyer (more on that later).

Conveniently, we provide this service for existing or incoming clients. For more information, contact us today.

 

Getting your NIF for non-EU Citizens

If you are applying for a NIF number as a non-European Union/European Economic Area/Swiss national, there are some additional steps to the process. Every non-EU/EEA nation is required by law to appoint a fiscal representative who can endorse their NIF application, whilst EU citizens can be registered independently. Having a NIF in Portugal is highly important for beaurocratic interactions with the state. It is as important as the Social Security Number in the United States.

What is a tax representative?

how to get a nifEvery non-European Union/European Economic Area citizen with economic involvement in Portugal must appoint a registered NIF tax representative with the tax department. A fiscal representative is an individual or business that functions as a point of contact between a third-country national or business and Finanças.

The tax representative does not need to be a lawyer or accountant and can be any local Portuguese resident so long as they possess a Portuguese address. That being said, we advise against registering your NIF through a friend or acquaintance. Many local residents do not have a thorough understanding of Portuguese tax law, and it could end up in a sticky situation, especially if your friend ever leaves Portugal.

Who needs fiscal representation? What is it for?

The tax representative does not need to be a lawyer or accountant and can be any local Portuguese resident so long as they are Portuguese tax residents. That being said, we advise against registering your NIF through a friend or acquaintance. Many local residents do not have a thorough understanding of Portuguese tax law, and it could end up in a sticky situation, especially if your friend ever leaves Portugal.

Our Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: Gather the required documents

First things first, you need to have the proper paperwork. Otherwise, you risk being turned away at the tax office. You will be asked for:

  • Official photo ID (a passport, as an identification document, is your safest bet)
  • Proof of address in Portugal or your resident country (a utility bill or rental contract should suffice)

If you are applying through an attorney or fiscal representative, you will need to submit a power of attorney translated into Portuguese, proving that they have the authority to act on your behalf. Portuguese citizens and EU residents do not need to appoint a fiscal representative. If these documents are in a language other than Portuguese, English, French or Spanish, they must be translated.

Applicants domiciled outside of the EU, who require a tax representative for the application, will also need a letter of appointment, which we can draft for you. It is important to note that the signature on your passport must match the signature on the letter.

Step 2: Apply online for your NIF number

Log on to the NIF website and fill in your details, including adding your documents and filling in your application form.

Step 3: Receive your NIF number

After submitting the required documents, your NIF number is usually generated within a few minutes. The Portuguese tax authority will provide you with a document stating your NIF number. Note that this number does not expire.

An individual taxpayer number, often referred to as a NIF number, is a number of nine digitals, essential for various financial transactions in Portugal, especially for those pursuing the Portuguese Golden Visa. This number is automatically assigned to investors who apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, allowing even non-EU residents to conduct business and other formalities within the country.

To use the NIF number for tax purposes, the process is straightforward. Applicants only need a passport or ID card and a residential address as proof. While non-residents of Portugal can still obtain this number, they must appoint fiscal representation or a proxy within the country to facilitate the process.

How is the Portuguese tax card different from a NIF Number?

The Portuguese tax card is a credit-card-sized document with your NIF number, issue date, and the issuing regional tax authority’s name. A tax card is not compulsory, but you can request one when your NIF is issued.

How do I get a NISS number?

Your NISS (Número de Identificação de Segurança Social) is your Portuguese social security number. You can only get your NISS if you are working in Portugal and have a job here. Also, as a self-employed freelancer, you will also need to have this number.

Your employer will get your number for you if you are working in a company, although you will still need to provide them with the documents that they will need (outlined below). You will need to complete the process yourself if you are self-employed.

With your all-important NISS number, social security contributions are paid to the Portuguese government and are shared by the employer and employee. The rates generally applicable are 23.75 percent for employers and 11 percent for employees. These payments cover pension, family, and unemployment benefits.

The Social Security Number is for both local and foreign residents in Portugal. Since January 2020, the Portuguese Government has made the process easier to obtain your social security number. Working in Portugal, if you are employed or self-employed, you will be able to get it by hand as soon as you meet the requirements and provide the correct documents to Segurança Social (Social Security Department). As of late, it may even be possible to email Segurança Social to obtain your number, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Importance of an Individual Taxpayer Number during the Portugal Golden Visa Process

tax identification number PortugalAn individual taxpayer number, often referred to as a NIF number, is a number of nine digitals, essential for various financial transactions in Portugal, especially for those pursuing the Portuguese Golden Visa. This number is automatically assigned to investors who apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, allowing even non-EU residents to conduct business and other formalities within the country.

To use the NIF number for tax purposes, the process is straightforward. Applicants only need a passport or ID card and a residential address as proof. While non-residents of Portugal can still obtain this number, they must appoint fiscal representation or a proxy within the country to facilitate the process.

Resources to help you live, work, and invest in Portugal

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the NIF Number in Portugal

What is the tax number in Portugal?

Portugal’s tax number is known as a NIF (Numero de Identificacao Fiscal). It is also known as the tax contribution number (Numero de Contribuinte). The NIF is a nine-digit number necessary to conduct any financial activity or business within Portugal.

How do I find my NIF number?

This number is used in all correspondence between you and the Portuguese tax authority. When you get your NIF, you should receive a letter or document with the number written on it.

How do I get a NIF number in Portugal?

You can visit a Finanças or a Loja do Cidadão, which is the tax and customs authority, with your required documents and identification document. You must bring a fiscal representative if you are a non-EU/EEA citizen. Alternatively, you can apply for one online through a fiscal representative. 

How do I get a taxpayer ID?

Getting a taxpayer identification number is simple. You can ask for one at any branch of the Tax Authority or a Citizen’s Office. If you need a tax representative, they can apply for a taxpayer ID number on your behalf. The tax representative should:

  • Present a citizen’s card or permanent residency card
  • Present their NIF
  • Bring proof of their Portuguese address

Why do I need a fiscal representative?

A fiscal representative is known to the Portuguese tax authorities and can help you navigate the complexities of the Portuguese tax system. They are a contact point between you and Finanças, which can be very helpful if you are a non-resident. 

How much does a fiscal representative cost in Portugal?

There is no set cost for a fiscal representative. We would recommend contacting a law firm or accountant and asking for a quote. 

Does getting a NIF number mean that you will be taxed in Portugal? 

Obtaining a NIF number does not lead to automatic taxation in Portugal, and it depends on how you are registered with the tax office. Whether or not you will be taxed in Portugal depends on the source of your income and whether Portugal has a Double Taxation Agreement with your home country.

What is the importance of NIF tax identification Portugal?

A NIF, or número de identificação fiscal, is your Portuguese tax identification number, and it allows you to do things like open a bank account, have dealings in the Portuguese tax office, pay a utility bill or sign contracts.

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