If you are intending to invest in property, apply for residence, carry on a business or establish any form of official presence in Portugal, the first step is to obtain a Portuguese fiscal number. A fiscal number is known in Portugal as a Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF) and is sometimes also known as a Número de Contribuinte.

You will need to obtain a Portuguese fiscal number in order to:

  • Buy or sell property in Portugal
  • Inherit assets in Portugal
  • Open a bank account in Portugal
  • Set up utilities or telecoms in Portugal
  • Buy a car or apply for a driver’s licence in Portugal
  • Obtain a mortgage or other credit in Portugal
  • Pay taxes in Portugal
  • Receive income from work or a business in Portugal
  • Receive social security benefits in Portugal
  • Study in Portugal


EU residents can apply for a fiscal number in person by visiting a local tax office (Financas) with some official identification (such as a passport or EU I.D. card), as well as a proof of address in their home country. The nine-digit number is issued instantly and is retained for life. Appointment of a Fiscal Representative is optional but for property owners it is advisable.

Non-EU residents are required to appoint a Fiscal Representative in order to request a Portuguese fiscal number and to be registered on their behalf for the receipt of any tax department correspondence.

Non-resident companies acquiring a property or setting up a branch in Portugal are required to obtain a fiscal number from the National Registry of Companies (Registo Nacional de Pessoas Colectivas) in Lisbon and must also appoint a Fiscal Representative. Known as a Número de Identificação de Pessoa Coletiva (NIPC), it serves as a corporation tax reference number, VAT registration number and company registration number.

Sovereign Portugal is ready to assist with all fiscal number applications.


A Fiscal Representative in Portugal acts as an interface between a non-resident individual or company and the Serviço de Finanças (Tax Department) on any tax matters relating to a client’s property and/or a client’s individual taxation.

Notifications from the Tax Department generally require a prompt response within 10 to 15 days. Non-receipt of such correspondence can therefore swiftly lead to tax problems for an individual. Non-receipt of property tax bills can lead to non-payment and the incurrence of fines and penalty charges.

As the Fiscal Representative, Sovereign will receive all Tax Department correspondence in respect of the affairs of clients and will act on behalf of clients to ensure that their fiscal responsibilities are fulfilled – submitting the necessary tax returns and paying all taxes.

To do this, Sovereign will provide any requested clarifications to the Tax Department, raise tax appeals, implement Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) provisions and ensure that tax payments are made within deadlines. We will also assist with any residence applications.

Many lawyers are no longer willing to assume this role and prefer to recommend specialist Fiscal Representatives such as Sovereign. Sovereign – Consultoria Lda has been able to build very close relationships with local tax departments, which enables us to keep up to-date with the ever-changing fiscal demands placed on both resident and non-resident clients.


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Please contact us if you have any questions or queries and your local representative will be in touch with you as soon as possible.