See what a Tax Representative can do for you
Tax representative in Portugal
Please find below some Q&A’s about the obligation to appoint a tax representative in Portugal.
The appointment of a tax representative is mandatory with the registration/allocation of a Tax Identification Number (TIN / NIF)?
The appointment of a tax representative is not mandatory upon registration and attribution of a TIN / NIF to a national or foreign citizen, as a non-resident, with address in a third country, that is, in a country not belonging to the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA).
What is the purpose of appointing a tax representative?
A tax representation is the link between non-resident taxpayers and the Portuguese Tax Authorities (PTA), with the tax representative appointed by the taxpayer being a local point of contact of the taxpayer with PTA, for tax related matters.
The tax representative was created to ensure permanent contact between PTA and taxpayers for the purpose of fulfilling tax related obligations and / or to allow those taxpayers to exercise their rights towards the PTA.
The exercise of the following rights depends on the appointment of a tax representative:
- Exercise the guarantees legally laid down by the General Taxation Law [“Lei Geral Tributária”] and the Taxation Procedure and Process Code [“Código do Procedimento e Processo Tributário”], including those related with claims, appeals or impugnation;
- Ensure compliance with ancillary tax duties, such as declaratory obligations (e.g., submitting the Personal Income Tax (PIT) Annual Income Statement – “Declaração Modelo 3 do IRS”), and provide all clarifications potentially requested by PTA.
Why am I required to appoint a tax representative?
It becomes mandatory to appoint a tax representative if, after the attribution of the TIN / NIF as a non-resident taxpayer and while residing in a third country, the non-resident becomes subject to a tax legal relationship, namely comes to:
- Own a vehicle and/or a property registered/situated in the Portuguese territory;
- Celebrate an employment contract in the Portuguese territory;
- Have an activity as a self-employed person in the Portuguese territory.
If the non-resident taxpayer, resident in a third country, would be able to register himself in the system of electronic notifications and citations through the Tax Authorities portal (“regime de notificações e citações eletrónicas no Portal das Finanças ou à Caixa postal electronica”), would be exempt from the obligation of appointing a tax representative. Please note that this web portal, though, is solely in Portuguese, meaning all interactions with the Tax Authorities would have to be in Portuguese language. This exemption does not apply if the non-resident taxpayer exercises an activity as a self-employed person in Portuguese territory, keeping up the obligation to appoint a VAT representative (the person must be a VAT taxpayer resident in Portugal).
Normally, the deadline for complying with the obligation to appoint a tax representative or register in the system of electronic notifications and citations is 15 days counting from the date of the beginning of the tax legal relationship with the Portuguese territory [article 24º of Decree-Law nº 14/2013, of 28th January], except in the case of starting a self-employed activity, since, in this situation, will have to make the appointment at the time of registration of its beginning [according to articles 30º and 31º of the Portuguese VAT Code].
Finally, the appointment of a tax representative is always optional for non-resident taxpayers that are residents in an EU / EEA Member State.
Who can be a tax representative?
Any individual or collective person with fiscal address or head office in Portugal may be appointed as a tax representative. If the non-resident citizen carries out a self-employed activity subject to VAT, the tax representative must be a VAT taxable person (resident in Portugal).
What are the responsibilities of a tax representative?
- Receipt of correspondence sent by the PTA, since the represented taxpayer considers himself domiciled at the representative's address;
- It is responsible for complying with the various ancillary obligations (e.g., declaratory obligations) of the represented taxpayer;
- Exercise the rights of the represented taxpayer before the PTA, including those for claims, appeals or impugnation.
The tax representative is not responsible for paying the taxes of the non-resident citizen, with exception of the following situation – “He is responsible for paying the VAT due, if the non-resident citizen carries out a self-employed activity subject to VAT, insofar as there is a liability joint tax of the tax representative of the non-resident taxpayer (paragraph 5 of article 30 of the VAT Code)”.
What are the consequences of failing to appoint a tax representative?
Failure to appoint a tax representative, when mandatory, is punishable with a fine between EUR 75 and EUR 7.500, becoming the non-resident taxpayer unable to exercise his/her rights before the PTA, including those for claims, appeals or impugnation.
Can I cancel the register in the system of electronic notifications and citations?
The cancellation of the register in the system of electronic notifications and citations in the Finance Portal or to the electronic mailbox, regarding the non-resident taxpayers resident in a third country, will only take effect after the prior appointment of a tax representative in Portugal, when they are obliged to do so (paragraph 16 of article 19 of General Taxation Law).
Can a tax representative of a non-resident individual taxpayer resign?
Yes. According to article 130-A of the PIT Code, the tax representative may renounce the tax representation under the general terms, by means of a written communication to the represented taxpayer, sent to the last known address of the tax represented.
The waiver/resign becomes effective in relation to the PTA when communicated to it, and the latter must, within 90 days of such communication, make the necessary changes.
A tax representative is a tax consultant for my tax issues?
A tax representative is not a tax consultant for any of your personal and tax issues. Each situation is a unique situation [e.g., tax residency, properties, children’s, etc.] and should be studied accordingly. In this sense, if you need tax advisory on any matters, we can recommend a reputable and international global tax consultancy firm.
Our comments are based upon the law in force, administrative and judicial interpretations thereof as of the date of this information, all of which are subject to change or update.
If there is a change in the law and interpretations thereof (including a change having retroactive effect), the information expressed herein would necessarily have to be re-evaluated in light of any such changes. We have no responsibility to update this information for any such changes occurring after the date of this disclosure.
The information expressed herein is not binding on the tax authorities or courts and there can be no assurance the tax authorities or the courts will not take an opposite position to the information expressed herein.
We are under no obligation to assist you with any challenge of the information expressed herein.