“A citizen who, cumulatively, does not have a tax domicile in Portugal or in the European Union or in the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), does not meet the legal requirements to have the tax status of resident, is not a taxable person, in light of the provisions of paragraph 3 of article 18 of the LGT and is not subject to the fulfilment of obligations or intends to exercise any rights with the tax administration, is not obliged to appoint a tax representative”, says a letter circulated from the Tax and Customs Authority (AT).

When a representative is needed

The same understanding states that the obligation to appoint a tax representative in Portugal becomes mandatory if, after the granting of a NIF number as a non-resident and while residing in a third country, the taxpayer “comes to be the subject of a tax legal relationship”, namely, to own a vehicle and/or a property registered/located in Portuguese territory, to enter into an employment contract in Portuguese territory or to carry out a self-employed activity in Portuguese territory.

Likewise, “citizens who declare their residence in a third country and who are subject to a tax legal relationship must appoint a tax representative (individual or legal person)”, when they have a tax legal relationship, that is, if they have tax on a car or property, an employment contract in Portuguese territory or are self-employed in Portuguese territory.

“In these situations, the appointment of the tax representative must be made within 15 days of the change of address to a third country”, states the document.


The designation of a tax representative is mandatory for all holders of a Tax Identification Number (NIF) residing in countries outside the European Union (EU), a situation that, due to Brexit, also covers Portuguese people residing in the United Kingdom.

The letter circulated also determines that “in the act of registration and attribution of a NIF to a national or foreign citizen, as a non-resident, with an address in a third country, that is, in a country not belonging to the European Union (EU) or the Economic Area European Union (EEA), the appointment of a tax representative is not mandatory”.

The new understanding of the tax authorities regarding the issue of the tax representative by taxpayers with a NIF who reside outside Portugal and have no tax relationship with the country makes it possible to respond, for example, to the case of the children of emigrants who, because they have a Citizen's Card, they are automatically assigned a NIF, which, in itself, includes them in the obligation.

Likewise, a citizen residing abroad who owns a property in Portugal, will only maintain the obligation to have a tax representative while maintaining the property - extinguishing this in the case of sale and after all inherent tax obligations have been fulfilled.

The failure to designate a tax representative, when mandatory, as well as the designation that omits the express acceptance by the representative, is punishable by a fine of between €75 and €7,500.