Contribuente: Why giving your NIF can make you money (and even more)

"Contribuente on the bill?" This question comes back eternally when one lives in Portugal and for those who do not know this subtlety of the Portuguese system are surprised and do not necessarily understand everything on this subject. Is it obligatory to communicate your NIF it? What is the risk if we do not give it? What can be earned by giving it? Bob your Personnal Assistant for Expats answers you right away.


The origin of the Contribuente number

In order to fight against corporate tax evasion and the black market, the government at this moment introduced tax incentives to encourage Portuguese consumers to demand a bill and thus bring money back into the state coffers. This measure began in 2013 with the partial reimbursement of VAT collected for the payment of certain services and has since been extended to other areas. The results are positive. According to the official figures of Finanças, 4,009.3 million bills were issued and communicated between January and October of last year, 10.1% more than in the same period last year (3,640.8 million ). Part of the Portuguese "economic miracle" is explained by the fact that money is now passing through the legal system and thus inflates the numbers.


Is it mandatory to communicate your Contribuente number?

One might think that it is the responsibility of the merchant to issue you an invoice with your contributor number but it is not. It is up to the consumer to be able to prove the origin of what he is buying. Thus at the very beginning of this measure (and still sometimes nowadays) it was not uncommon to be controlled at the exit of a supermarket by agents of the repression of frauds asking people to justify the payment of their purchases . The fines amount to several hundred euros and have prompted people to officially register their bills.

Even if controls are made today very rare the obligation to be able to justify your purchases and always of force. But the threat of being penalized is not the only reason to have to communicate your NIF during your purchases.


Why give his NIF when shopping?

So what is the point of communicating it if it is not wasting time and fighting tax evasion? Well you can just make money and more.

When one says to earn money, it is especially to recover on your expenses since you can recover up to 250 € on several categories of expenses. There is a category for catering, hairdresser, or even for the transport pass. For example by simply giving your NIF when you buy your Metro Pass monthly you get € 81 at the end of the year! By cumulating expenses in different categories the total amount of the sum to be recovered can be quite large. This amount will be deducted from the amount of taxes you will need in May. Knowing that the IRS is already deducted at source there is a good chance that the amount you have to pay is negative. You'll understand: the state will give you money! Just before the summer holidays it's perfect! But that's not all.


Win a sports car at the tax lottery

You read correctly. To boost the incentive to demand a bill and fight against the black market, the government introduced in 2014 a new measure: the draws. The principle is simple: each invoice issued includes a unique reference. Invoice numbers are drawn and the prizes are randomly awarded to people who purchase goods or services in Portugal and request an invoice with a contributor number. Lots: sports and luxury cars. To participate, you just have to ask for an invoice with a number of contributor.

The tax administration grants a "Fatura da Sorte" coupon for every 10 euros or for each indivisible fraction of 10 euros. If the total amount of the invoices does not reach 10 euros, only one coupon will be awarded. According to an example of the website of the electronic invoice, Portal de Finanças, "if the sum of the bills of a final consumer amounts to 70.20 euros, eight coupons" Fatura da Sorte "will be awarded." You can read here a very good article of the Courrier International on this subject.

The "Fatura da Sorte" rules call for one contest per week, called "regular draw", and two semi-annual draws - the "extraordinary draw" - in June and December. You can view your coupons and draw results here.

To conclude Bob reminds you that fighting tax evasion is good, but being able to earn money and even sports cars is even better! Giving your NIF can seem useless and laborious especially when we have just arrived but the benefits can be important.

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Bob is expats assistant in Lisbon and Portugal.

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