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What Is a Tax Representative in Portugal & Do You Need One?

By Bernardo Barbosa

Published on 9 January 2024

10mins read

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You don't reside in Portugal, but you have serious business to take care of in the country? Then, you will most likely need to hire the services of a Portuguese tax representative!

As the name implies, tax representatives have the necessary expertise and qualifications to act on your behalf in matters concerning Portuguese taxes. But what are their roles and responsibilities? How can they benefit your business? And how can you make sure that you'll choose the right tax representative?

In this article, we will try to make tax representation easy by answering all of these questions.

What is a Tax Representative?

A tax representative in Portugal is a person or entity appointed by a non-resident taxpayer to act as their representative for tax purposes. The tax representative is responsible for fulfilling the taxpayer's tax obligations in Portugal, including filing tax returns, making tax payments, and communicating with the Portuguese tax authorities.

The appointment of a tax representative is mandatory for non-resident taxpayers who do not have a permanent establishment in Portugal, even though there are some exceptions.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Tax Representative

Tax representatives in Portugal have several responsibilities. Their main role is to act as liaisons between the taxpayer and the Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira, ensuring that all tax obligations are met accurately and timely.

This includes preparing and submitting tax returns, maintaining accurate records, and responding to any inquiries or audits from the tax authorities. Additionally, a tax representative is responsible for keeping up-to-date with the latest changes in Portuguese tax laws and regulations to ensure compliance.

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When is a Tax Representative Required?

In Portugal, a tax representative is required when non-resident entities want to engage in activities such as providing services or selling goods and have tax obligations in the country. This requirement ensures that these entities comply with Portuguese tax laws and regulations, including filing tax returns and paying taxes on time.

Benefits of Hiring a Tax Representative

These are the main benefits of hiring a tax representative in Portugal:

Expertise in Portuguese Tax Laws

Having expertise in Portuguese tax laws is one of the key benefits of hiring a tax representative in Portugal. The tax laws in Portugal can be complex and constantly changing, making it difficult for individuals and businesses to navigate. A tax representative with in-depth knowledge of these laws can provide valuable guidance and ensure that all tax obligations are met.

Tax representatives can also help interpret the laws, identify applicable tax incentives, and optimize tax planning strategies.

Ensuring Compliance with Tax Obligations

One of the key benefits of hiring a tax representative in Portugal is that they ensure compliance with tax obligations. They can help with tasks such as filing tax returns, submitting required documentation, and making timely payments. By entrusting these responsibilities to a tax representative, individuals and businesses alike can avoid penalties and legal issues related to non-compliance.

Handling Communication with Portuguese Tax Authorities

When it comes to communicating with Portuguese tax authorities, having a tax representative can greatly simplify the process. They act as a bridge between the taxpayer and the tax authorities, handling any inquiries, requests, or notifications on behalf of the taxpayer. This not only saves time and effort for the taxpayer but also reduces the risk of miscommunication or misunderstandings.

Tax representatives can also help non-Portuguese-speaking individuals have a clearer understanding of what's required of them at any given moment.

Accessing a Portuguese NIF

For non-resident individuals living outside of the European Union, hiring a tax representative is the only way to get a Portuguese NIF. A Portuguese fiscal identification number is mandatory for engaging and complying with the Portuguese tax authorities.

How to Choose a Tax Representative

Needless to say, tax representatives are different from one another... The quality of their service, their experience, their costs, and even their transparency can change from representative to representative. So, how can you make sure that you'll choose the best possible tax representative for your business?

Experience and Expertise

When choosing a tax representative in Portugal, it is important to consider their experience and expertise in Portuguese tax laws and regulations. A tax representative with a strong understanding of the local tax system will be able to provide valuable guidance and ensure compliance with all tax obligations.

Additionally, tax representatives should have a history of handling complex tax matters and be up-to-date with any changes in tax legislation. It is recommended to choose a tax representative who has a proven track record and a deep knowledge of the Portuguese tax landscape, from corporation taxes to SAF-Ts.

Reputation and References

When choosing a tax representative in Portugal, it is important to consider their reputation and references. It is recommended to ask for references from past clients to ensure the tax representative has a proven track record of providing reliable and effective services.

Conducting research and reading reviews can also help gauge the reputation of the tax representative in the industry. By selecting a tax representative with a strong reputation and positive references, individuals and businesses can have peace of mind knowing that their tax matters are in capable hands.

You would never buy a product or service without researching it first, so why should tax representatives be treated any differently?

Cost and Service Agreement

When choosing a tax representative in Portugal, it is important to consider the cost and service agreement. Cost is crucial because it varies depending on the complexity of your tax obligations and the services provided by the representative. It is recommended to request quotes from different representatives and compare their fees.

According to multiple sources, the actual cost of a tax representative in Portugal can be as low as 200€ and as high as 1,000€ per year. Some companies charge non-residents up to 150€ just for obtaining an NIF.

After analyzing the cost of your tax representative, it is essential to review the service agreement thoroughly to understand the scope of services provided, including the frequency of communication, reporting, and any additional charges. A clear and comprehensive service agreement will ensure that both parties are aware of their rights and obligations, minimizing any potential misunderstandings or disputes.

Tax Representatives: Qualifications and Contact

We now know what tax representatives are, how they can benefit us, and what makes them good or bad. All there's left to learn is how Portuguese tax representatives are certified and how can non-residents (especially non-Portuguese speakers) find one.

Do Portuguese Tax Representatives Need To Be Certified?

In Portugal, tax representatives typically include certified accountants or tax consultants who are authorized to represent individuals or entities before the tax authorities. They must have specific qualifications and often belong to professional bodies or associations such as the Ordem dos Contabilistas Certificados (Order of Certified Accountants).

How Can You Find a Tax Representative in Portugal?

To find certified tax representatives in Portugal, you can:

  • **Search professional directories:** Look for registered accountants or tax consultants through professional directories provided by the Ordem dos Contabilistas Certificados or Ordem dos Técnicos Oficiais de Contas. These directories often have listings of certified professionals.
  • **Referrals and recommendations:** Ask for referrals from other businesses or individuals who have used tax representatives. Recommendations from trusted sources can be valuable.
  • **Online search:** Conduct an online search for certified accountants or tax consultants in your area. Many firms or individual professionals have websites detailing their services and qualifications.
  • **Local business associations:** Contact local business associations or chambers of commerce for recommendations or lists of certified tax representatives.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, hiring a tax representative in Portugal can greatly benefit individuals and businesses who are unfamiliar with Portuguese tax laws and regulations. By entrusting the expertise of a tax representative, one can ensure compliance with tax obligations and avoid potential penalties. Additionally, a tax representative can handle all communication with Portuguese tax authorities, saving time and effort.

When choosing a tax representative, it is important to consider their experience and expertise, reputation and references, as well as the cost and service agreement. Having a tax representative can provide peace of mind and help navigate the complexities of the Portuguese tax system; so, what are you waiting for?

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Written by Bernardo Barbosa

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Rauva is partnered with Swan who will be providing all payment services to Rauva clients. Rauva does not have access to client funds. Funds are kept in accounts provided by Swan, held in BNP Paribas. Swan is an EMI, based in France, supervised, and regulated by ACPR/Banque de France. Swan is authorized to carry out such services in Portugal and registered with Banco de Portugal under the registration number 7893.
Rauva is a certified accounting firm, but is not a certified legal services provider. As such, Rauva does not provide legal services. Rauva acts as an intermediary who facilitates the introduction to our customers of legal services partners who are legally registered and certified in Portugal. A list of Rauva’s partners can be found here.