Portugal: New Unique ID Number and QR Code Regulations Bring Challenges

Gabriel Pezzato
August 18, 2020

As anticipated, further information has been published by the Portuguese tax authorities about the regulation of invoices. Last weeks’ news about the postponement of requirements established during the country’s mini e-invoice reform, and the withdrawal of a company’s obligation to communicate a set of information to the tax authority, culminated in the long-waited regulation about the unique identification number and QR codes.

Back in 2019, the Law-Decree 28/2019 introduced the unique identification number and QR code as mandatory invoice content. Previously expected to be enforced on 1 January 2020, the details about what constitutes such a unique identification number and the content of the QR codes were missing. However, the Portuguese government has now published an Ordinance further regulating both requirements.

A new validation code

According to the Ordinance 195/2020, as of 1 January 2021, companies issuing invoices under Portuguese law must communicate the series used in invoices to the Portuguese tax authorities, prior to it being applied. Once the series has been communicated, the tax authority issues a validation code for each reported number series.

This validation code is later used as part of the unique identification number that has been named ATCUD. The ATCUD comprises the validation code of the series and a sequential number within the series in the format “ATCUD:Validation Code-Sequential number”. The ATCUD must be included in all invoices immediately before the QR code and be readable on every page of the invoice.

To obtain a validation code, taxpayers must communicate the following data to the Portuguese tax authority:

  1. The identification of the document series;
  2. The type of document, following the document types established in the SAF-T (PT) data structure;
  3. The starting number of the sequential number used within the series;
  4. The date when the taxpayer is expected to start using the series to which a validation code is required;

Once approved, the tax authority creates a validation code with a minimum size of eight characters.

According to the Ordinance, the sequential number that is also part of the ATCUD is a reference obtained from a specific field of the Portuguese version of the SAF-T file.

Although the Ordinance meant to introduce QR code details, it states that technical specifications will be published on the tax authority’s website. The Ordinance nevertheless says that a QR code should be included in all invoices and documents issued by certified software. It also states that the QR code should be included in the body of the invoice (on the first or last page) and be readable. Technical specifications for the QR code are available from the tax authority’s website.

Last week’s Ordinance doesn’t change the scope of companies that need to use certified software to issue invoices, nor does it change the certification requirements. However, Portuguese taxpayers must, once again, adapt their current business and compliance processes and are under pressure to change their systems before the 1 January 2021 deadline.

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Author

Gabriel Pezzato

Gabriel Pezzato is a Senior Regulatory Counsel at Sovos. Based in Stockholm and originally from Brazil, Gabriel’s background is in tax, corporate and administrative law. Gabriel earned a Law degree and a specialization degree in Tax Law in his home country and has a master’s degree in International and European Tax Law from Uppsala University (Sweden).
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