In practice, no legal act may be performed in Portugal, including the opening of a simple bank account, without all the intervening parties producing a taxpayer identification number. Obtaining this number is therefore the first step to be taken by someone intending to invest, carry on a business, buy an asset that is subject to registration (e.g. a car) or just establish a presence in this country.
How to obtain the number
The bureaucratic process for obtaining a taxpayer number differs according to whether the applicant is an individual or a corporate body. In either case, the number will be obtained in no time, provided the paperwork is in order.
An individual’s tax identification number may be obtained by the individual from any tax office or from a “Citizen’s Shop” (Loja do Cidadão) upon presentation of an original passport (or national identity card if an EU citizen); or it may be obtained by an individual’s representative, who will need a legalised copy of the represented person’s passport (or national identity card if an EU citizen), plus a legalised power of attorney.
In respect of incorporated business entities, the tax identification number in Portugal is simultaneously the corporation tax reference number, the VAT registration number and the company registration number. The number is granted upon incorporating a new company or registering a permanent establishment of a foreign entity; and in all other cases it can be obtained either in person or by mail from the National Company Registry office (Registo Nacional de Pessoas Colectivas or RNPC), or online, through the “Company Portal” (Portal da Empresa). One needs to submit legal evidence that the company exists (e.g. a certificate of good standing) and that one is empowered to apply for the number in its name (e.g. legalised board minutes granting such power). Otherwise, the number may be obtained by a representative, under power of attorney.
Documents are acceptable in Portuguese, Spanish, French or English; but documents in other languages must be accompanied by a translation into Portuguese, which must be certified by either a Portuguese consulate, or by a notary public and the apostille of the Hague Convention if in a country that is a signatory of said convention, or else by a Portuguese lawyer. In the event copies of documents are submitted in lieu of the originals, such copies must also be legalised in one of the said manners.
The appointment of a resident tax representative is mandatory for an individual or a business entity that is not a resident of either an EU member country or of an EEA country that has agreed to EU-type tax co-operation with Portugal, and intends to own property in, or derive income from, Portugal. Only through their tax representative are such individuals legally entitled to dispute the tax authorities’ decisions made in their respect. The tax representative may, or may not, have management powers in connection with the represented person’s property or business. The representative who does have such powers shall share any liabilities of the represented individual or entity in connection with Portuguese tax, so the representative will not usually accept any such powers.
Belion Partners’ services
Belion Partners assist clients with legalising documents, obtaining Portuguese tax identification numbers and appointing a Portuguese tax representative. Please check our fiduciary services in case you require any such service.