What is a taxpayer number, and what is it for?

by Alex Musk

The taxpayer number (or TIN) is essential for all tax-related matters, but not only. Know what it’s for.

The tax identification number (NIF), also known as a taxpayer number, is one of the few things that does not change over a lifetime. There are nine digits that accompany any citizen from the moment he is born and that remain linked to him forever. You can change the name, but this number is always the same.

If you usually ask for invoices with NIF, it is likely that you have already memorized them since this element is essential to be able to deduct expenses with the IRS. There are, however, other situations where you need to indicate this number, such as when opening a bank account or when signing a lease.

Let’s see, then, in greater detail, what the taxpayer number is and what it is for.

What is the Taxpayer Number?

The tax identification number (NIF), or taxpayer number, allows the identification of citizens before the Tax Authority (AT).

This number consists of nine digits (the first eight sequential and the last for control) and is intended exclusively for processing tax and customs information.

Each citizen can have only one TIN. This is automatically assigned with the citizen’s card or can be requested separately.

The importance of the taxpayer number

In addition to identifying citizens for tax purposes, the taxpayer number is used by the State, through the Tax Authority (AT), to combat tax evasion and the shadow economy. That is, to avoid, for example, that companies provide services without issuing an invoice, which withdraws money from the State’s coffers.

It is also essential for taxpayers to have access to IRS deductions and other tax benefits.

According to the law, it is mandatory to mention the taxpayer number in all interactions with AT. For example, declarations, filings, tax filings, applications, petitions, exhibits, claims, challenges, or appeals.

In addition, both public services and private entities “must require taxpayers to prove their NIF” when they are complying with tax obligations.

Decree-Law No. 14/2013 also determines that income subject to withholding tax (such as wages) cannot be paid without the holder of such income proving his taxpayer number.

When and how to ask for the taxpayer number

If you are a national, most likely, you will not have to worry about dealing with the taxpayer number. Currently, the TIN is included in the information contained in the Citizen Card and is automatically assigned when the identification document is requested for the first time.

It is, in fact, mandatory for children to have a taxpayer number so that parents can include their children’s expenses in the IRS, namely health and education.

The TIN can, however, be requested by any citizen, resident or not in Portugal. The request can be made at a tax office, at the Citizen’s Shops, or at the offices where the Citizen’s Card is issued (when this document is requested). On this page, you can search for the location of these services and find a summary of the necessary documentation.

Advantages of asking for an invoice with a taxpayer number

The possibility of deducting expenses with the IRS is one of the advantages of asking for an invoice and associating your taxpayer number.

By doing so, you can recover part of what you spent, for example, on health or education expenses, but also on gyms, hairdressers, or restaurants.

Another advantage is the fact that, through this invoice, you can prove that you really are the owner of a certain good or that you paid for a certain service. It can be useful for claiming, making exchanges, or even triggering guarantees and insurance.

The Lucky Bill, which awards Treasury Certificates (35,000 euros in weekly contests and 50,000 in extraordinary ones), is another incentive to ask for an invoice with a taxpayer number. For every 10 euros invoiced, the Tax Authority gives you a participation coupon that is eligible for this draw.

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