Tax number: how to obtain the TIN in Portugal

If you are thinking of moving to Portugal, you’ll probably need to obtain a tax number. This will be required if you want to open an account, work, buy a house or even subscribe to an internet service. We’ll show you what you need to do.

If you want to live in Portugal you’ll need to obtain a “Número de Identificação Fiscal” — or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

Also known as a Taxpayer Number, or referred to simply by the Portuguese initials NIF, it is composed of nine digits and is used by the Treasury to identify people with taxpaying obligations.

You can obtain a card with the number on it – a Cartão de Contribuinte, or Taxpayer Card – or find it on your Portuguese Citizen’s Card – a smart card which includes ID information, Social Security number, Health Service User number and Taxpayer number.

What is it for?

In Portugal, this number is used to declare your income to the Treasury every year, but is also necessary for a number of other things, such as:

  • Opening a bank account;
  • Buying or renting a house;
  • Buying a car;
  • Subscribing to a television, telephone or internet service;
  • Signing a work contract.

In other cases, although not obligatory, you can obtain some tax benefits or reduce the amount of annual tax due to the State by presenting it. This is the case when you go to a restaurant, for example, or purchase medication at a chemist, and ask for an invoice with your taxpayer number on it.

How to obtain your Taxpayer Number in Portugal

Getting a Taxpayer Identification Number is simple and quick. You can ask for one at any branch of the Tax Authority, or at a Citizen’s Office [Loja do Cidadão]. The situation differs, however, depending on whether you are a resident of an EU country, Iceland and Norway or from somewhere else. Switzerland and Lichtenstein, for instance, have a different system. Let us explain.

Residents from the EU, Iceland and Norway

If you are a resident from one of these countries, you only need to provide two things to obtain your TIN:

  • Passport or personal ID document;
  • Proof of residence in the country of origin (such as utilities bill, for example).

Your TIN will be attributed at once, at no cost.

However, if you want to set up residence in Portugal and remain in the country for a period of over three months, you should request a European Union Citizen Registration Certificate at the city hall of your address in Portugal.

Once that has been done you should return to a branch of the Tax Authority or to a Citizen’s Office, to present said certificate. From that moment on, all correspondence involving tax issues will be handled by your local branch of the Tax Authority.

How to obtain a European Union Citizen Registration Certificate?

If you are a worker:

  • Valid ID;
  • A sworn declaration that you work in Portugal;

or

  • A sworn declaration that you possess sufficient financial resources to provide for yourself and your family, as well as health insurance. The latter is only necessary if your country of origin also requires Portuguese citizens to have health insurance.

If you are a pensioner:

  • Valid ID;
  • A sworn declaration that you possess sufficient financial resources to provide for yourself and your family, as well as health insurance. The latter is only necessary if your country of origin also requires Portuguese citizens to have health insurance.

After having a Registration Certificate for five consecutive years, you can request a Permanent Residency Permit from the Foreigners and Border Service. This document confirms your right to live in the country permanently and with no restrictions.

Residents from outside of the EU, Iceland and Norway

If you come from outside the EU, Iceland or Norway, the process for obtaining a TIN in Portugal is different. Citizens in this situation need:

  • A stamp of entry in Portugal;
  • Valid passport and visa;
  • Proof of residence in the country of origin;
  • Tax representative;
  • Document which proves that the tax representative has agreed to represent you.

The tax representative is the link between the Tax Authority and the foreigner. He or she does not necessarily have to be a Portuguese citizen, but must be a permanent resident. The tax representative should:

  • Present a Citizen’s Card or Permanent Residency Card;
  • Present his or her TIN;
  • Confirm Portuguese address.

As with European Union citizens, the TIN is attributed immediately, but the address will be that of the representative.

If your idea is to settle in Portugal, you should have a residence visa which allows you to enter Portuguese territory and request residence permission from the Foreigners and Border Service (SEF).

Following these formalities, you should return to the Tax Authority again, to inform it that you no longer need, nor have, a tax representative.

The temporary residence permit is valid for a period of one year and renewable for consecutive periods of two years. After five years the holders may request authorisation for permanent residence.

Switzerland and Lichtenstein

Residents from Switzerland and Lichtenstein find themselves in a sort of mixed system when they want to request a Portuguese TIN. Being part of the Schengen Space, the documents they need to present are the same as those of EU, Iceland and Norway residents (passport or civil ID and proof of address in country of origin), but besides this they also need a tax representative.

After receiving your TIN you should deal with obtaining your European Union Citizen Registration Certificate, in the same way as EU, Iceland and Norway residents.

Once you have obtained your TIN you can apply for non-habitual resident status, and benefit from all the advantages which pertain to it.

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