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Double taxation between Portugal & UK - MOD 21 RFI?
Thread poster: Caroline Reiss

Caroline Reiss  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dec 7, 2011

Hello dear colleagues,

Forgive me if this question has been covered and answered already; I have trawled the forums for this all day and have not yet found a complete answer to this issue (I would be very grateful if anyone could point me in the right direction with a link).

I have been working freelance for a Portuguese client (not an agency) and they are now due to pay me. Yesterday I received an email from their finance department saying that they need me to complete a MOD 21 RFI form in order to apply for exemption from double taxation in Portugal and over here in the UK, where I am permanently based.

I am happy to fill in the form, and I even accept that despite doing my best to get the forms filled in and returned to my client, I am unlikely to be able to do this in the required time frame and it is highly likely that I will be taxed at source anyway (which HMRC assures me that I can claim back through Foreign Tax Relief).

The MOD 21 RFI form asks me for my tax identification number from my country of residence. I have been advised by HMRC to put my National Insurance number in this box. However, the next box asks for my Portuguese tax identification number???

This is where I fall down: I do not have a Portuguese tax identification number as I am not resident in Portugal, nor have I ever paid tax over there before.

I have tried calling my client for clarification on this but there has been no response, and I was wondering if any other translators might be able to advise me on what needs to be entered in this box, if anything at all?

Should I be registered for tax in Portugal? I cannot find information to confirm that this is the case as everything I have found so far is about Portuguese residents registering to pay income tax.

Many thanks in advance for any help or advice offered.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:11
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I had the same problem in Belgium Dec 7, 2011

You just have to send two copies of the form to your tax authorities. Portugal and several other countries (UK included) have entered into a convention for the avoidance of double taxation. You will find the text of the convention here (http://untreaty.un.org/unts/1_60000/19/32/00037567.pdf)

 

Caroline Reiss  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Teresa Dec 7, 2011

Hi Teresa,

Many thanks for taking the time to reply.

I don't know if the forms are similar to the ones provided in Belgium, but do you know if it is acceptable to leave the Portuguese tax identification number box blank?

Best wishes,

Caroline


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:11
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Dec 7, 2011

The forms are the same (they were sent by my Portuguese client, but they are also available online). You only have to complete the parts of the form that are relevant to you. Boa sorte!

 

Maaike van Vlijmen  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:11
Member (2009)
Italian to Dutch
+ ...
I filled out the form last month Dec 7, 2011

Hi Caroline,
I filled out this form last month. The agency gave me clear instructions on how to fill it out. I left the box for Portuguese tax number blank, as instructed (obviously I don't have one).
If you want, you can contact me through my profile and I can send you the instructions my client gave me. It wasn't hard at all and I got it signed and stamped at the tax office.
Good luck!


 

Caroline Reiss  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Dec 7, 2011

Thank you both very much for your help.

Maaike, I sent you an email.

Hope you both have a pleasant evening.

Caroline


 

mnjverma
Local time: 00:11
I am in a similar situation Aug 6, 2012

Dear Caroline

I am in a very similar situation. UK citizen, working for a Portuguese company on freelance basis. My qustion is in which tax office do you get the form signed/stamped?

Thanks very much for your help.

Manoj


 

Caroline Reiss  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You need to phone HMRC and check. Aug 6, 2012

Hi Manoj,

I tried to take the forms to the local HMRC office and I was told that, unfortunately, they no longer sign/stamp them there. However, I was given the regional tax office address in Sheffield, which is where I sent them.

I presume that each region has their own office for dealing with these matters, but if you phone HMRC, they'll be able to tell you the correct address.


Hope that helps!


 

Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Member
French to English
+ ...
Related thread Aug 7, 2012

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/95059-payment_from_portugal_to_uk_resident_double_taxation.html

It's not a very recent thread, so may not contain the most up-to-date information, but the MOD 21 RFI form is mentioned so it might be worth reading. I only post it as I remember reading it ages ago - I have never worked for Portuguese clients myself so can't speak from experience. Although the original poster's profile now says she lives in Portugal, I believe she was living in the UK when she posted the thread as that was the year when she sat the DipTrans at the Brasshouse Centre on the same day as me (plus she mentions in the thread that she was a UK resident).

[Edited at 2012-08-07 11:29 GMT]


 

Caroline Reiss  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for highlighting this! Aug 7, 2012

Hi Peter,

Just wanted to say thank you for highlighting this. I had scoured the forums for info on the MOD-21 when I had to fill it in, but I don't think I saw that particular thread. Nor did I realise that the MOD-21 would be valid for one year only!

Many thanks again, and have great day!

Best wishes,

Caroline


 

Laura-B
United Kingdom
German to English
+ ...
Tax Identification Number (TIN) May 8, 2013

Hi,
I know this question wasn't asked, but it's important if you're filling in the form. The form asks for your tax identification number (TIN). I have talked to the UK tax office and they say that if you are applying as a company this is your company's UTR (unique taxpayer reference - a 10 digit number that comes on any correspondence from the corporation tax office) and that although they usually tell you not to give this to anyone, this number is required on this form.
If you are filling it in as a private individual, the TIN is NOT your national insurance number. It is your personal UTR which you will get if you apply for self-assessment. If you don't apply for/do self assessment, you cannot use the Mod 21 RFI.


 

Caroline Reiss  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Perhaps best to have all bases covered... May 8, 2013

Hi Laura,

Thanks for your comments, I probably should have updated this thread for the sake of others who may be searching for the info, so thank you also for your prompt!

I have had to complete the form twice now as I am still working with this particular client. On both occasions, I had followed the advice that I was given by HMRC at the time and filled that particular box in with my NI number. However, just to have all bases covered, I also wrote an accompanying letter to HMRC asking them to issue a stamped letter confirming my UK residency for tax purposes. Both the accompanying letter and (I believe) the stamped letter issued by HMRC showed both my UTR and my NI numbers, and my client's finance department have been happy with that on both occasions.

Perhaps it's best to have all bases covered in that respect!icon_smile.gif

Warm wishes to you for a productive day.

Caroline


 

Laura-B
United Kingdom
German to English
+ ...
Nice to know HMRC is being consistent :) May 8, 2013

Hi Caroline,

People from abroad are forever asking for my TIN, but when I rang HMRC no one knew what that was. My info was from a tax inspector who rang me back and sounded like she knew what she was talking about (she at least didn't start by saying she'd never heard of a taxpayer identification number).

What did you fill into the section about income from Portugal? I have no income from there except what I earned from the company which wants the mod 21 RFI (and presumably in future any income I earn from that company or any other companies I work for). Do you know where this belongs in the form if anywhere? Is it box II, question 8? And is it commission or "other please specify"?

Laura

[Edited at 2013-05-08 11:29 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-05-08 11:29 GMT]


 

Carmen Swanwick-Roa  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:11
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
+ ...
How long does this process take? Jul 14, 2014

Hi everyone,

I've been working on a few small projects with a Portuguese client and she sent me a MOD 21 RFI form in April so that I could start getting paid for them. I called HMRC and they told me to send it off to HMRC Liverpool where they deal with them. I sent the forms (signed in triplicate as requested) back in May.

I called a few weeks ago and they said it wasn't even in the system yet, and that if I'd sent it in May it wouldn't even be processed into the system until July! I tried calling today but couldn't get through, so I'll try again tomorrow.

I was just wondering how long it took for your forms to be processed? I know these things are put in a queue, but how long can it really take to stamp a sheet of paper and send it back? I even enclosed a SAE and a letter explaining the situation to speed things up! Maybe things have changed in the past couple of years?


 

lgrilo
United Kingdom
Hi Maaike, Mar 2, 2015

Maaike van Vlijmen wrote:

Hi Caroline,
I filled out this form last month. The agency gave me clear instructions on how to fill it out. I left the box for Portuguese tax number blank, as instructed (obviously I don't have one).
If you want, you can contact me through my profile and I can send you the instructions my client gave me. It wasn't hard at all and I got it signed and stamped at the tax office.
Good luck!


 
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