What Are The Benefits of Having a NIF Number?

Written by:
Last updated on June 14, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

Having a NIF number isn’t really a question of benefits. There are some things that you just can’t do without a NIF.

For example:

  • You probably won’t be able to open a Portuguese bank account.
  • You might not be able to apply for a residency visa like the D7 or golden visa.
  • You won’t be able to buy property in Portugal.
  • You probably won’t be able to rent property (officially) in Portugal.
  • You won’t be able to get a mobile phone contract.
  • You won’t be able to get an internet contract.

Etc, etc.

Basically, a NIF number is something you need if you’re planning to live in Portugal rather than something that’s optional. Now that’s not to say that there aren’t some benefits to using your NIF number, which can result in reduced taxes.

According to Kathleen Lo from Bordr.com, there is a concept of associating your NIF with certain day-to-day purchases and Portugal has certain categories and corresponding amounts. When people give over their NIF in grocery stores, it’s because food is one category where using your NIF can reduce your income tax.

Although you’ll mainly see people giving over their NIF at the supermarket, the list of categories also extends to hairdressers, the mechanic’s, and the vet’s.

Aside from potentially reducing your tax bill slightly, there is one other reason to use your fiscal number and that’s because it can act as a lottery ticket — if the spend is over €10, you’ll be entered into a weekly lottery known as Fatura da Sorte.

With prizes of €35,000 in treasury tickets, it won’t change your life like winning the Euromillions or Powerball. However, it would definitely be nice money to win, and simply using you NIF number allows you to have a flutter without spending any money on scratchcards or lottery tickets.

So, even if you’ve earned as much of a tax credit as possible for that year (which can happen quickly with the grocery category, for example), and even though there isn’t always a legal requirement, it’s always beneficial to give your Portuguese tax ID as it can act as a free lottery ticket.

If you’re from the US, it may feel strange to give out what feels like your social security number, but in Portugal it’s the norm.

The small print: Portugalist may generate a commission from mentioned products or services. This is at no additional cost to you and it does not affect our editorial standards in any way. All content, including comments, should be treated as informational and not advice of any kind, including legal or financial advice. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors or omissions or damages arising from its display or use. Links to external websites do not constitute an endorsement. [Disclaimer Policy]
Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

Spotted a mistake? Suggest a correction

There are 0 comments on this article. Join the conversation and add your own thoughts, reviews, and stories of life in Portugal. However, please remember to be civil.

Leave a Comment