How to find your German tax ID (Steuernummer, Steueridentifikationsnummer and VAT number)

How to find your German tax ID (Steuernummer, Steueridentifikationsnummer and VAT number)

A brief guide to obtaining or finding your tax identification number in Germany

Germany uses different identification numbers for tax purposes. Among them are the tax ID (Steueridentifikationsnummer), the tax number (Steuernummer) and the VAT number (Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer). This guide explains what these numbers are and how to get yours.

The tax ID (Identifikationsnummer)

The SteueridentifikationsnummerSteuerliche IdentifikationsnummerIdentifikationsnummer, Steuer-IdNr.IdNr or SteuerID is your unique, permanent tax identification number. It has the format "12 345 678 901".

You get your tax ID by mail when you register your address in Germany for the first time1. It's at the top right corner of a document from the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern. This is what this document looks like:

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Lost your tax ID?

If you lost your Steueridentifikationsnummer, you may ask the Finanzamt to send it to you by filling this form. You will receive a letter with your tax ID a month later. You can also visit the nearest Finanzamt to get it on the same day1.

The tax number (Steuernummer)

The Steuernummer, Steuer-Identnummer or St-Nr. is for freelancers and businesses. It's a 10 or 11 digit number, and has the format "12/345/67890". It's sometimes written in the unified federal format as "3012034567890", where the first two digits are the number of your Bundesland12.

You get a Steuernummer by filling the Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung. You will receive your tax number by mail 2 to 4 weeks after submitting this form1. If it takes longer, you can call your local Finanzamt and ask for the number.

The Steuernummer is unique, but not permanent. It will change if you move to an area served by a different Finanzamt1. Do not confuse the Steuernummer with the VAT number (Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer1).

The VAT number (Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer)

The Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer, USt-Identifikationsnummer or USt-IdNr. is the German term for the VAT number. It's a 9 digit number with the format "DE999999999".

You also get a VAT number by filling the Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung.