There are a number of reasons to use your NIF number in Portugal. Firstly, it may be a requirement in certain instances (e.g. buying a house or car) and, secondly, it could reduce your Portuguese tax obligations. There’s another reason too, and that’s that by using your Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF number) when you spend €10 or more you’ll receive a coupon for entry in a weekly lottery-style draw (Fatura da Sorte).
By taking part, you could potentially win €35,000 in treasury certificates. It’s not as much as you might win in the Euromillions or even Portugal Totoloto (the Portuguese lottery) but €35,000 could be a new car, a down payment on a house, or just a lot of nice trips around Portugal and abroad.
However, don’t start planning those trips or that house purchase just yet! The prizes are treasury certificates rather than cold, hard cash and these certificates can’t be cashed in until a year later.
The draw has been running since 2014. There are around 52 draws per year as well as two additional special draws, which usually take place in June and December (if they go ahead). These are known as extraordinary contests (concursos semestrais extraordinários) and the prize amount is slightly greater at €50,000.
The televised weekly draws take place every Thursday on RTP. You can see when the next draw is on the Portal das Finanças website. You don’t need to tune in every week to find out if you’ve won: the Portuguese tax authorities will contact you by email or registered letter as well. However, it’s still worth keeping an eye on the numbers.
According to E-konomista, Entrants can be registered as living outside of Portugal so if you have a NIF but aren’t resident in Portugal, it’s still worth using it.
Does that mean it’s worth getting a a Portuguese tax identification number as a non-resident who isn’t planning on moving to Portugal?
If you’re coming to Portugal regularly and want a flutter every time you do your shopping, it might be something to consider. However, keep in mind that there’s normally a cost involved in obtaining a NIF. This is more an issue for those from non-EU/EEA countries (e.g. the UK or USA) as they need a fiscal representative. As this normally ends up needing to be a lawyer or company, it usually costs around €80 at the cheaper end of the scale to get a NIF.
However, if you already know someone who’s resident in Portugal and willing to act as your fiscal representative, you won’t have the cost of a Portuguese lawyer to consider. As Kathleen Lo from Bordr points out.
Non-EU/EEA residents need a fiscal representative when requesting a NIF number. This can be a company such as Bordr or it could be an individual, such as a friend or family member, who’s resident in Portugal and willing to act as your fiscal representative. – Kathleen Lo, Bordr
Need a NIF? This article explains how to get a NIF number.