Foreigners who want to move to Portugal or buy property in Portugal must get a Portuguese taxpayer number called NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal). This number allows foreigners to perform legal activities or conduct business in Portugal. Everybody can get a NIF number in Portugal, but understanding the four different ways to obtain the number is crucial.
What is NIF in Portugal?
NIF, which stands for Número de Identificação Fiscal, is the Portuguese personal tax identification number. This nine-digit number is used for official business transactions and issued by the Portuguese tax authorities. Even foreigners temporarily living in Portugal should apply for the NIF, as it gives them many benefits.
How much does a NIF cost?
Obtaining a NIF in Portugal is free for citizens of Portugal and other EU countries. Those who want a Portuguese tax card can buy one for only €6,80 ($7,30).
Who needs a NIF number?
All people, both EU and non-EU citizens, who are living in Portugal must have a NIF number, although this isn’t required by Portuguese law. A NIF can also be issued to foreigners who are not tax residents in Portugal. With a NIF, you can perform certain operations in Portugal, such as buying property, getting a loan, starting a business, or opening a bank account.
The NIF can also be used to pay for purchases at online stores, supermarkets, hairdressers, etc. The NIF will be printed on the check, and the transaction cost will be sent to the Portuguese tax office. Sometimes, part of the paid income tax can be refunded when the NIF is used for making payments.
How to get a NIF in Portugal?
There are four ways to get a NIF in Portugal as a foreigner. EU and non-EU citizens can obtain a Portuguese NIF in all four methods.
1. In person at the Portuguese tax office
EU citizens and citizens of non-EU countries can apply for NIF registration in person at a branch of the Portuguese tax office (Financas or Loja do Cidadão). All relevant documentation must be submitted in the presence of their tax agent. It takes roughly 30 minutes to complete a NIF application at the tax office. Here you find the Portuguese tax offices’ locations and opening hours.
2. By email
Several tax offices have accepted online applications by email since the COVID-pandemic. Applicants can send an email (written in Portuguese) to the branch of choice, including the completed application form and necessary documents. Here you will find the branches of the tax office and their corresponding email address.
3. Through a lawyer or tax representative
Those who are not in Portugal can choose to obtain a NIF in Portugal through a lawyer or tax representative. By using a power of attorney, which the foreigner provides, the tax agent will compile and submit all the paperwork to the tax office. Another advantage of using a tax agent is their knowledge of the Portuguese tax system, which might be hard to understand for foreigners. A tax agent in Portugal costs about €1.000 ($1.075) per year on average.
4. Through a friend
A tax representative can also be a local resident. Think about a friend or a real estate agent who is helping you with the purchase of real estate. They must also identify their Portuguese address on the NIF registration application and submit the necessary paperwork on the international applicant’s behalf. On this website, local residents can apply for a NIF number in Portugal on the foreigner’s behalf. Be aware when using a local friend because not all residents know the local tax laws and regulations. A mistake made by someone else can have significant financial consequences.
Required documents for NIF registration
There is little documentation required to acquire a NIF in Portugal. You will need to provide the following documents:
- Picture ID (or a scanned, signed copy if you are using a lawyer or representative)
- Non-EU citizens have to present their passport
- EU citizens can present a passport or citizen’s identity card
You must present evidence of your residence address if you apply for a NIF in Portugal. The proof might be anything from a utility statement to a rental contract. Applying for NIF in Portugal from abroad is possible by permitting a lawyer or tax representative to act on their behalf. You can do this by submitting a document signed by an attorney.
How to start paying taxes in Portugal
NIF holders don’t have to pay tax in Portugal if they don’t live here permanently. A Portuguese residency permit is required for those who want to stay in Portugal for more than 183 days per year and want to change their tax residency to Portugal. This residency visa can be obtained in several ways, including working for a local company, studying at a local university, marrying a Portuguese citizen, and investing in Portuguese real estate. Foreigners who want a residency permit by buying property in Portugal can apply for the Golden Visa program. Therefore, they must invest at least €500.000 ($536.525) in Portuguese real estate.
A Portuguese resident visa gives the holder the right to live, work, conduct business, and study in Portugal. The holder can also travel without a visa to Schengen countries and the United Kingdom. They can apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years of having a residence visa.
People with a NIF number and Portuguese residency visa have a personal account on the website of the Portuguese tax service, where they can file their tax reports and pay taxes in Portugal.
When to file and pay your taxes in Portugal?
Make sure to file the tax returns before the first of April. Failure to file a tax return might result in a fine ranging from €200 ($215) to €2.500 ($2.685). Failure to meet tax payment deadlines may result in a penalty of up to 10% of the outstanding amount but no more than €55.000 ($59.020).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is NIF number in Portugal?
The NIF number in Portugal, also known as the Número de Identificação Fiscal, is a unique taxpayer identification number assigned to individuals, companies, and entities for tax and administrative purposes. It is a crucial identifier for conducting various financial and legal transactions in Portugal.
How to get NIF in Portugal online?
It is possible to get NIF in Portugal online by emailing the nearest Portuguese tax office branch. Applicants should write their email in Portuguese and attach the completed application and all necessary documents. You will find a map with all branches and their email addresses here.
How to apply for NIF number in Portugal online?
You can apply for a NIF number in Portugal online by emailing the closest Portuguese tax office branch. Ensure to write the email in Portuguese and attach the completed application and all necessary documents to the email. You will find a map with all branches and their email addresses here.
Who can get a Portuguese taxpayer number?
A Portuguese taxpayer number (NIF) is available to various individuals and entities, including residents, non-residents, Portuguese citizens, and foreign nationals. It is typically required for multiple purposes, such as employment, tax obligations, property ownership, or conducting business activities in Portugal. The specific eligibility criteria for obtaining a Portuguese taxpayer number may vary based on the individual’s circumstances and the purpose for which it is required.