Fiscal representative in Portugal

Fiscal Representation-do you need it?

Until recently, all those who were non-resident in Portugal, and from outside the EU or EEE, were required to have a fiscal representative. Post Brexit, this affected many British citizens who had a NIF (taxpayer number) in Portugal.

There is a cost to maintain a fiscal representative, and for those that had no regular activity in Portugal it seemed illogical that they were obliged to maintain this.

The thinking behind this was the presumption that it would be difficult for the Portuguese tax authority (finanças) to contact non-residents who were outside of the EU/EEE. Non-residents within the EU/EEE are allowed to register their home address (outside of Portugal) with finanças, and all necessary correspondence is sent to that address.

A recent clarification has been issued (see link below to download the full details "oficiocirculado900542022") that confirms the tax authorities stance has altered. Non-residents with a NIF are now divided into three categories, with different requirements for each.

  1. Resident in EU/EEE. As before, the home address outside of Portugal can be used to register with finanças, and a fiscal representative is not required.
  2. Resident outside of EU/EEE but fiscally inactive in Portugal. This applies to those who are not subject to pay any taxes in Portugal (IMI or council tax, imposto de circulação or car tax, IRS or income tax etc) and who do not want to exercise any of their fiscal rights in Portugal. Effectively, if you do not own a car, property or you work in Portugal, you will be within this category. The good news is that you no longer need a fiscal representative.
  3. Resident outside of EU/EEE but fiscally active in Portugal. If you own a property, a vehicle or are working in Portugal then you fall into this category, and will still need a fiscal representative.

This is good news and simplifies matters for many non-residents. 

A word of warning

Although many people no longer need a fiscal representative, this also means that the tax authority will not be able to easily contact you. In the unlikely event that there is an issue with your tax affairs in Portugal, then you can end up in debt without realising this. We recommend that you always obtain your password and username for the finanças portal, and that way you can always check on your tax affairs.