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State Services and Digital Citizenship

According to a 2019 European study (by Accenture), the majority (61%) of citizens accessing public services digitally are satisfied with the experience. However, about 1/3 of citizens do not use or do not know how to access any digital services made available by the State. 

ADVANTAGES OF USING DIGITAL STATE SERVICES

  1. Convenience (personal data is saved and automatically accessed when you log in to a State website).
  2. Comfort (you can access almost all State services from the comfort of your home and without the constraints of having to travel).
  3. Efficiency (with less time wasted, either in commuting or queuing).
  4. Ease of interaction and online payments (with evidence that can be stored digitally).

WHAT ARE THE MAIN ONLINE SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE STATE? 

  1. Digital Mobile Key – A simple and secure form of authentication and digital signature using a mobile phone number and PIN.
  2. ePortugal – The digital central point for accessing information and performing Public Administration services.
  3. Id.gov – A mobile application that allows citizens to store and consult, at any time, the details of their identification documents issued by the Portuguese State.
  4. Authentication.gov – The State’s official electronic identification, digital signature and secure authentication site.
  5. Usability and Accessibility Seal – Promotes the best practices on websites and apps to simplify using online public services and to make it more efficient.
  6. Simplex – National programme of measures to simplify the lives of citizens, companies and organisations in their relationship with the State, being transversal to all areas of State intervention.
  7. Loja do Cidadão – Several public and private entities, in the same space. Sharing of resources, infrastructures and platforms, enhancing the efficiency and cost reduction of the State.
  8. Espaço Cidadão – Central, local and private government services in a single branch – over 600 branches, in a model that promotes digital literacy.

Finance

TAX PORTAL

The tax portal is the Tax Authority’s digital website through which taxpayers can access the main tax services, such as alerts, tax agenda, deliveries, appointments and tax evidence, among others. 

To access it, simply log in (in the top right-hand corner), entering your Tax Identification Number (TIN) and password (sent by the Tax Office or other that you have changed in the meantime). 

If this is the first time you are entering the site, you must register (also in the top right-hand corner), and for this you need to provide some details, namely: (i) your TIN (mandatory), (ii) your email (optional), (iii) your telephone number (optional), (iv) your tax residence (mandatory) and (v) a secret question.

Once they have entered, the taxpayer can access their tax information, personal details, payments and evidence, alerts, etc.

PORTAL e-FATURA

To access the Tax Office e-Fatura portal, ask for a password (if you do not already have one) for yourself and all members of your family unit. The password will be sent to your tax residence within 5 days. 

On the homepage of the e-Fatura portal, click on the menu “IRS deductible expenses”. Then click the green button labelled “Consumer” and enter the password sent by the Tax Office.

On the next screen, you will find the amount you have already accumulated with the expenses associated with your tax number, by sector. If you have already accumulated 250 euros in General Family Expenses, that means you have reached the maximum deduction in this category and there is no need to worry anymore, during the year, about receipts from the supermarket, telecommunications or any other expense that does not fit into the categories of health, education, homes and housing.

 If the portal gives the indication that you have pending invoices, click on the button “Complete Invoice Information”. You will find the expenses inserted by traders who have multiple activities, which leads the tax authorities to ask which sector each one of the expenses relates to. If you do not recognise the name of the establishment, or you do not remember the expenses made on the date indicated, look for the paper receipts. Alternatively, try entering the business name or address of the company into a search engine. If you assign the expense to the wrong sector, or if you notice an invoice assigned to the wrong sector, you can select it and click “Change”.

If the portal alerts you to invoices that include health expenses subject to the standard VAT rate without a prescription attached, click on “Attach prescription” and consult the expenses listed. If you have a prescription that justifies any of these charges, please tick “Yes” in the answer to the question “I have a prescription”. Since it is possible that the expense includes other purchases in addition to the prescribed medication, please indicate the amount covered by the prescription. In case all expenses are covered, insert the total amount.

When you notice an expense is missing, you can enter it manually. Enter the “Invoices” menu and click on “Register Invoices”. Then fill in the empty fields: trader’s tax number, invoice type and number, issue date, VAT rate and tax base (amount without VAT). But don’t get ahead of yourself. Traders and service providers have until the 20th of the month following the invoice to enter expenses in the system. Therefore, wait until the end of this period to make manual entries. And do not forget that the user charges, fees and interest on housing loans only enter the system later.

Always keep paper receipts, regardless of whether the expenses appear automatically in e-Fatura or are included in the system manually. In case of disagreement with the tax authorities, it will be the only way to prove the declared expense. Keep that evidence for four years.

PORTAL e-BALCÃO

The e-Balcão is an electronic service through which taxpayers can interact with the Tax Authorities as if they were at a Tax Office, allowing all taxpayers to deal with any tax affairs with the Tax Office via the Internet. 

The e-Balcão is located in the lower right-hand corner of the Portal das Finanças (at www.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt) where it says “Contact us”. To do this, simply log in to the site – with your taxpayer number (TIN) and password – and enter the question you deem appropriate, and the answers will be offered, on average, within 3 working days.

HOW TO COMPLETE MY IRS ONLINE

Until 30 June, taxpayers who are required to file an IRS tax return must do so and (now) compulsorily via the Internet.

To submit the declaration, you must have a login password, sent by the Tax Office. It is the combination of the password with the taxpayer number that gives access to the IRS submission page on the Portal das Finanças. It is mandatory to have a password for each member of the household, including children.

Many taxpayers are already covered by automatic IRS. In this case, by logging in with the respective password, the Portal das Finanças displays a settlement proposal. If you do not accept it, you will have to fill out an IRS statement.

It is not always easy to fill in each of the mandatory annexes in the IRS declaration and, as of 2020, some annexes have new tables. After all, how do I declare the sharing of expenses of a dependant in joint custody? Where are long-term leases declared? And how do pensioners fill in the new table 5B in Annex A?

To help with the filling out of the “Cover” menu and the main attachments, we have prepared a step by step explanation. That way you know how to fill in each field in each section.

Cover (model 3) – composition of the family unit

Annex A – employees (dependants) and pensioners

Annex B – self-employed workers and local accommodation

Annex F – property income

Annex H – deductions and tax benefits

Automatic IRS – what do I do with the proposal I have received?

You can find more information on tax affairs in the 2020 edition of our Tax Guide.

HOW TO PAY IMI ONLINE

The deadline for paying the first instalment of municipal property tax (IMI) ended on 31 May. For those who pay less than 100 euros in tax, this is the only IMI instalment to be paid in 2020. For those who pay more than 100 euros, a second instalment is charged in November. Property owners who pay tax in excess of 500 euros will receive two more charges: in August and November.

If you have any doubts about the amount you have been charged, use our simulator to confirm that this is the fair value of IMI for your property.

Get your IMI simulation: https://www.deco.proteste.pt/campanhas/paguemenosimi/

Available permanently and completely free, the DECO PROTESTE simulator allows you to determine, in a few minutes, the correct amount of IMI to be paid for your property. Since we launched the simulator six years ago, we have already helped the Portuguese population to save more than 22 million euros, which were being charged unfairly. On average, the savings revealed by our simulator are around 58 euros per year. 

HOW TO PAY IUC ONLINE

To pay the Single Circulation Tax (IUC), the taxpayer must log on to the Portal das Finanças, select Citizens, Pay and IUC. Then all you have to do is request the payment details and make the payment (usually via an ATM reference). To do this, simply access an ATM or enter your homebanking and select Payments to the State, enter the reference provided and pay.

At any time, the taxpayer can consult the tax situation of the vehicles that are in their name, by searching IUC and seeing if the situation is regularised and/or when the IUC payment is due (and how much it is).

Social Security

The Social Security website (http://www.seg-social.pt/inicio) aims to facilitate citizens’ access to the Social Security system and thus (i) guarantee the achievement of the right to Social Security, (ii) promote the sustained improvement of social protection conditions and levels and the strengthening of its equity and (iii) promote the effectiveness of the system and the efficiency of its management.

Through the SS website, citizens have access to information on (i) maternity and paternity benefits and allowances, (ii) allowances for children and young people from disadvantaged families, (iii) allowances in the event of unemployment or support in the event of back pay, (iv) access to allowances in the event of illness or support for a family member, (v) access to old-age pensions, (vi) allowances in the event of death, (vii) consultation of applicable legislation and, of course, (viii) the contributions to be paid and how to settle debts to the SS, to list just a few.

On the SS website it is also possible to schedule an appointment, which is a service that allows you to schedule the appointment with a previously defined day and time. With this service the citizen is served on the day and at the time that best suits their availability, without having to wait in queues.

Appointments can be booked online or by phone.

Please note that: (i) you must arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled time to ensure that you are served, (ii) you must keep the booking reference number you receive in the confirmation message to present it at the main desk and (iii) the order of service is by time of appointment and not the order of arrival at the main desk.

In your engagement with Social Security, the non-presential means should be favoured: The Social Security Hotline and Segurança Social Direta.

Book your online service via the link: online booking and don’t forget to make an appointment for each subject you want to schedule.

Required data: (a) NISS and (b) Password to access the Segurança Social Direta service.

If you prefer, you can also dial/schedule by calling the Social Security Hotline at 300 502 502 (every working day from 9am to 6pm). The cost is the value of a call to a fixed network, depending on your tariff plan.

The last alternative given to us by Social Security, is to talk through a Chat, available at https://chatbot.seg-social.pt/ and where citizens can see some of their (simplest and/or most common) questions answered.

SEGURANÇA SOCIAL DIRETA

The Portal da Segurança Social Direta (SSD) is a direct, fast and convenient channel that allows individuals and companies to benefit from Social Security services via the Internet, without having to go to the Social Security In-Person Services. 

The main objective is to facilitate and maximise the relationship and interaction with citizens and companies in order to provide a functional and proximity service according to various needs. 

This channel allows you to: (a) consult information registered on the Social Security Information System (SISS) and (b) change some information or propose to Social Security that it be changed.

To register with the SSD, follow these steps:

  • Click on Register
  • Enter your Social Security Identification Number (NISS)
  • Click I’m not a robot
  • Confirm the displayed image
  • Click on Proceed
  • Read the Terms and Conditions of Service and if you agree to them, click on I have read and I accept the terms and conditions of service

Enter the requested identification details (if you are a citizen): (i) full name, (ii) date of birth, (iii) citizen’s card (or passport) number and (iv) tax identification number.

National Health Service (SNS)

The SNS consists of a set of institutions and services providing health care, whose mission is to guarantee access to health care for all citizens (Portuguese or foreigners), regardless of their economic and social situation, at different stages of life.

Currently, the SNS is organised into three groups of institutions:

  1. Family Health Units (USF) and Personalised Health Care Units (UCSP), which are primary health care providers. Here you can find the following services: (i) general and family medicine appointments, (ii) nursing care, (iii) vaccinations, (iv) complementary diagnostic tests, (v) social services, (vi) check-up appointments, (v) family planning appointments, (vi) maternal health appointments and (vii) child and young person’s health appointments.
  2. Hospital Institutions, which are secondary and specialised care providers. Here you can find the following services: (i) outpatient appointments (of the different medical specialties), (ii) day hospital and (iii) admissions.
  3. National Network of Continuous and Integrated Care, which are integrated continuous care providers. Here you can find the following services: (i) convalescent long-term care, (ii) medium-term care and rehabilitation, (iii) long-term care and maintenance and (iv) palliative care.

PORTAL SNS

The Portal SNS is a platform that provides access to a wide range of information and online services, made available by the institutions that integrate the SNS and other institutions of the Ministry of Health. The website also provides, via TE.M.S, information on waiting times for emergencies, consultations and surgeries.

If you are not yet registered on this portal, start by registering where it says “You don’t have access to your area yet?” and click the “Register now” button.

Once logged in, you can choose between:

(a) Register with Digital Mobile Key (if you want to sign up for the Digital Mobile Key, you can do it at Authentication.gov.

(b) Register with your Citizen’s Card (you need a valid citizen’s card, authentication PIN, card reader and Citizen’s Card application installed on your computer – you can download it at Authentication.gov).

If you have any questions you can also contact the SNS Contact Centre – SNS 24 via the form available.

On the Portal do Utente you can: (i) request exemption from user charges, (ii) book appointments, (iii) renew repeat prescriptions, (iv) monitor your health, (v) access your vaccination record, and (vi) obtain paperless prescription treatment guides.

You can also download the “MySNS Carteira” app (available for both Android and iOS) where you will find a very wide range of features, which can be accessed through the SNS user number, including: (i) MySNS Tempos, (ii) Treatment Guide(s), (iii) Vaccination Record, (iv) Last Will and Testament and (v) add health cards (such as the ADSE card, for example).

What is digital citizenship

Digital citizenship involves using technology responsibly, interacting ethically, regardless of the physical or digital world, respecting others and knowing their rights and duties.  

In fact, digital interaction, through social networks, news sites and blogs, for example, is a key part for 21st century consumers today, and the Internet helps with information, in the construction of our opinions and in the amplification it gives our voices in the most varied outputs.

Digital citizenship goes hand in hand with digital literacy, which is much more than just technological knowledge, as it includes a wide variety of ethical and social practices that should be incorporated into users’ work, education and leisure.

Digital citizenship is in line with civil society and the way it has evolved, which is why today’s digital citizen is influenced, but also influences (and with a greater reach than it had a dozen years ago), is critical and committed to its causes and the Internet is the tool that best allows individuals to access everything and everyone. 

EIGHT ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP

  1. Digital access – ability to reach/access/use online technologies and resources.
  2. Online commerce – ability to buy and sell goods and services digitally.
  3. Digital communication – electronic exchange of information and data.
  4. Digital literacy – is the ability to use, understand and create in a digital environment and is related to the greater likelihood of making the right decisions online.
  5. Digital courtesy – code of conduct or procedures related to the impact on others when using digital devices.
  6. Digital health – is physical and psychological well-being in the online world, knowing how to respect others and use these tools in a balanced way. 
  7. Digital law – is the responsibility for actions taken in the digital environment and is related to the creation of rules and policies of the online world.
  8. Digital privacy – is the ability to understand the limits of sharing and the risks inherent in an intangible environment where unsolicited access, viruses and other bots can put users’ security at risk.