How to get your Tax ID in Germany

What is the German Tax Identification number?

The German Tax Identification Number, also known as Identifikationsnummer, is an essential identifier assigned to individuals by the German Federal Tax Office. It consists of a unique 11-digit numerical combination.

Who requires it? Anyone seeking employment in Germany will need this number as it is typically requested by employers. Additionally, it is necessary for communication and correspondence with the tax office.

It’s important not to confuse the Tax Identification Number with the Tax Number, known as Steuernummer, as they serve different purposes. The Tax Number is specific to freelancers or commercial businesses and follows a distinct format of xx/xxx/xxxxx.

By understanding the distinction between these numbers, you can ensure compliance with the proper tax regulations and facilitate seamless communication with employers and tax authorities.

3 Essential Facts About the German Tax ID

#1 Registration Requirement: It is important to note that you cannot obtain a tax identification number in Germany until you have completed your registration process. Once you have successfully registered, the tax identification number will be automatically issued to you.

#2 Lost or Misplaced Tax ID: If you have misplaced or lost your tax identification number, don’t worry. You can easily request a duplicate copy from the tax office. Simply visit the tax office in person and provide them with your passport, and they will assist you in retrieving your tax identification number.

#3 Different Terminologies, Same Meaning: In Germany, the tax identification number may be referred to in three different ways, but they all refer to the same identification code:

  • Identification Number (Identifikationsnummer)
  • Tax Identification Number (Steueridentifikationsnummer)
  • Tax ID (Steuer-ID)
There are multiple ways to obtain your German Tax ID.

How to Obtain Your Tax ID in Germany: A Step-by-Step Guide

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can easily obtain your tax ID in Germany, ensuring compliance with tax regulations and facilitating smooth interactions with tax authorities.

Option 1: Standard Procedure

Step 1: Register Your Address Upon registering your address at the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt), make sure to provide accurate and up-to-date information.

Step 2: Await Automatic Issuance The Central Tax Office (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern) will automatically generate and send your tax identification number (tax ID) to your registered address. Typically, this process takes a few weeks, and you do not need to fill out any additional forms.

Step 3: Check Your Mailbox Keep an eye on your mailbox for a letter from the Federal Central Tax Office. On average, it takes around two weeks for the letter to arrive. This letter will contain your tax ID, which remains the same throughout your lifetime.

Step 4: Retain Your Tax ID Once you receive your tax ID, make sure to keep it in a secure place, as you will need it for various tax-related matters throughout your life.

Option 2: Expedited Procedure

Step 1: Register Your Residence Similar to option 1, register your residence at the local registration office promptly.

Step 2: Visit the Local Tax Office. Approximately five working days after your registration, visit your local tax office (Finanzamt) in person. Remember to bring your passport with you.

Step 3: Request Your Tax ID At the tax office, inform them that you require your tax ID immediately. They will access the central tax system and provide you with your tax ID directly.

Step 4: Find the Nearest Tax Office Locate your nearest tax office by searching for ‘Finanzamt’ followed by your city and district. For example, ‘Finanzamt Berlin Mitte.’

Important Notes:

  • Obtaining your tax ID by phone is not possible; you must visit the tax office in person.
  • The tax office can provide assistance if you previously resided in Germany and cannot locate your tax ID.