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 Steueridentifikationsnummer, Steuerliche Identifikationsnummer, Persönliche Identificationsnummer, Identifikationsnummer, Steuer-IdNr., IdNr or SteuerID is your unique, permanent tax identification number. This is the number the tax office (Finanzamt) uses to identify you. It has the format "12 345 678 901". Your tax ID is permanent, it never changes.

Your employer needs your tax ID to pay you. If you don't have a tax ID, your income will be taxed at the maximum rate (42%). The extra taxes you paid will be returned with your next tax return.

You get your tax ID by mail around 2 weeks after registering your address in Germany for the first time1, 2. You can get it faster by visiting the Finanzamt and asking for it1. Your tax ID is at the top right corner of a document from the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern. This is what this document looks like:

1200px-Bundeszentralamt_für_Steuern_-_Zuteilung_Identifikationsnummer_2008.jpg#asset:396:contentFullwidth2x

Lost your tax ID?

If you lost your Steueridentifikationsnummer, fill this form, and the Finanzamt will send it to you. 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 Bundesland1, 2.

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. If you move your business to an area served by a different Finanzamt, you will get a new Steuernummer1. 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 "DE123456789".

You also get a VAT number by filling the Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung. You will not get a number if you declare a small business (Kleintunternehmer), because small businesses do not need charge VAT1.

Need help?

If you need help with German taxes, you should talk to a tax advisor (Steuerberater). If you live in Berlin, look at our list of English-speaking tax advisors.

Comments

  • Eddie

    Hi - I have my tax number already issued but I cant find the document .... is it possible to look it up online or something similar or do I need to go to the finanzamt and suffer the never ending bureaucracy .... Thanks guys!!

    Reply

    • Reply to Eddie

  • Marie

    Hallo!

    Ich habe eien Frage. I recently move to Germany from Mexiko to study my masters. I already did my Anmeldung at the Rathaus like a month and a half ago but still havent gotten any number for my taxes id and i'm being ask that number in order to open my bank account because it's annoying and you lose a lot of money with a foreign one. What can I do? do i need to apply for it? or should I just go to the building of the finantial office? Thank you in advance!

    Reply

    • Reply to Marie

  • Jishnu

    I am a student in Heidelberg who recently moved here. Is it possible for me to open a bank account without a Tax ID? If I do need one, can I open a bank account immediately after I register my address?

    Reply

    • Reply to Jishnu

    • Artemios Kafouros

      Yes you can. Go to the Web and type N26 bank. It would be better if you download the app in your smartphone.

      Reply

      • Reply to Artemios Kafouros

  • Sophie Windsor

    I am interning in Germany for 3 months and was told not to register with the authorities since I am here for less than 90 days, which means I don't have a tax ID. Is there any way to file an income tax returns claim without one? If not, how can I get one?

    Reply

    • Reply to Sophie Windsor

    • Nicolas Bouliane

      You will need to register, since you are taking residence in Berlin. As far as I know, it's the only way to get a tax ID.

      Reply

      • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

    • Jelena J

      The 183-day rule will probably apply in your case, Sophie. If you only plan on staying in Germany for 3 months, they don't have the right to tax you on your world income. This means that you will be taxed in your country of residence for the full year, and you will have to report your German income to them, as well as all other income during that year.

      Reply

      • Reply to Jelena J

  • Noelia Contreras

    Hi! If I have changed my adress, how can I change it also in my data of my Persönliche Identifikationsnummer? When I did my steuernummer I put the new one, but never bothered changing the other one. Help!!!
    Thanks :)

    Reply

    • Reply to Noelia Contreras

  • Brittany Young

    Hi there. In 2018 I left Germany (deregistered and everything) and my Freelance Artist Visa was cancelled. This year, 2019, I came back to Germany, and had to reapply for the Freelance Artist Visa, basically starting over again. Will I need to apply for a new Steuernummer?

    Reply

    • Reply to Brittany Young

  • Gabriela

    Hello!

    I registered at the Rathaus in january, but I did not get my tax number. Meantime i got hired and they asked me for this number. I requested it immediately but they said that they can not find me in the system. Now i have to register myself again and they will send me the tax number in 2 weeks.
    The problem is that i will get paid soon. Where do i have to go to pay the taxes after that? And will i have to pay more?
    Thank you:)

    Reply

    • Reply to Gabriela

    • Noek

      Hi Gabriela,

      You could just get paid, just bring 19% VAT in. When you get thought the system you can eventually pay a tax correction (what you put aside). We did it also this way because it takes a little time to get a TAX number.

      Reply

      • Reply to Noek

      • Eduardo

        Hey!

        1st: great blog. it really helps a lot! bless ya :)

        Ok, so I have my Steueridentifikationsnummer but not the Steuernummer yet and I got called for a freelance gig. can I still get paid?

        thanks in advance <3

        Reply

        • Reply to Eduardo

        • Nicolas Bouliane

          I believe you can. I was in the same situation and my tax advisor told me to put "not yet available" on my invoices. In the end I just waited to issue the invoice, so I'm not sure if it works.

          Reply

          • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

  • James Gordon

    Hello i am about trying to get a vat number of a German company using only its name in other to verify if its a legit company. what do i do inorder to get the vat number ?

    Reply

    • Reply to James Gordon

  • Mart

    I will work abroad but still getting paid my German employer (Berlin). During that period I will cancel my rent contract and leave the apartment... should I abmeldung? Or that will impact on my Tax ID/Class?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Reply to Mart

  • Baishakhi

    Hi
    it has been more than 3 weeks that I have registered and I still haven't received any document. What should I do ? Thanks

    Reply

    • Reply to Baishakhi

    • Maxine

      Samee!!! Did you end up working out what to do?

      Reply

      • Reply to Maxine

  • Amanda

    Hello, I have to provide a German VAT for Amazon.de. We are based in the United States and already have a VAT number for the UK. Is there an easier way to get the steuernummer so I can apply for the German VAT, can I do the German VAT without getting a steurnummer? I am so confused!

    Thanks for any help!

    Reply

    • Reply to Amanda

  • Blake Matich

    Hi there, I'm really confused by all of this. I finally received my student visa after being embroiled in a bureaucratic nightmare. And now I'm told there are even more hurdles. I was just applying to a bar job (so not my own business) and they requested these:
    - Stuernummer
    - Sozialvericherungsnummer or Rentenversicherungsnummer
    - Rote karte

    Obviously the last one is a hygiene thing and unrelated. But what do I need for the others? In the above text it says the Stuernummer is only for freelancers and businesses...
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Reply to Blake Matich

    • Nicolas Bouliane

      A Steuernummer? This is really weird! These are given to businesses and freelancers. Maybe they meant a Steuer-ID, but made a mistake?

      We have written an article about the Sozialvericherungsnummer. You get it from your health insurance company in Germany.

      Reply

      • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

      • Sivakorn

        Yes, I also receive Stuernummer today by post, even my Visa is a student visa. I think everyone who registers an address in Germany (even student), will get this letter anyway.

        Reply

        • Reply to Sivakorn

        • Nicolas Bouliane

          That's a Steuer-ID, not a Steuernummer. As the article above explains, these are two different things.

          Reply

          • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

        • Marie

          How long since you did your Anmeldung did it take for the std-nummer to arrive may i ask? I did it almost two months ago and havent gotten anything and i need it to open a bank account.

          Reply

          • Reply to Marie

  • Kati

    Hi, I wonder about the VAT number. I read that even if you apply for small entrepreneur Status (as I did), you Need the VAT ID number for EU customers (outside of Germany), and there is a line in the application form which I filled in to ask for it. But I only received the steuernummer by mail, no VAT number. Has anyone experienced same, does the VAT number usually arrive by mail together with the steuernummer, or is it possible that I will receive it later by separate mail. Otherwise I guess I Need to make a separate application for the VAT number.

    Reply

    • Reply to Kati

    • Adam

      Hi, I have the same problem, although I dont remember I filled it or not, but no I need Vat Id, how can we get it? I asked it in Finanzamt, they suggested me Bundeszentralamt in Bonn - www.bzst.de

      Reply

      • Reply to Adam

    • Dan

      I have the same problem. How did you end up getting the VAT number (USt-ID)?

      Reply

      • Reply to Dan

    • Lou

      Hi Kati, did you ever found out about your inquiry ? I am in the same situation where my customer is in France and I need the VAT number. I applied for both at the same time and only received the Steuernummer so far. Did you got it afterwards ? Or did you have to apply again ?

      Thanks a lot
      Lou

      Reply

      • Reply to Lou

  • Arpine Molasyan

    Hello, I how I can request my Tax ID online

    Reply

    • Reply to Arpine Molasyan

    • Elliott

      unfortunately, according to the finanzamt, online is not possible. you can request online for it to be mailed to you, though, with the link above in the article.

      Reply

      • Reply to Elliott

  • Theodoros Michas

    Hi! I went to the finanzamt in the area that i live and the gave me St-ID: 12 345 678 901 (example of format). Then today after 5 days i received a paper like the one at this site above with a number of the same format but different numbers Persönliche Identificationsnummer: 09 123 456 789 (example). Is this normal? Which one should i give to my employer for my contract? Thanks in advance

    Reply

    • Reply to Theodoros Michas

    • Maria

      Hi! I am in the same situation. Did you find out which Persönliche Identificationsnummer is available? the first or the second one?

      Reply

      • Reply to Maria

  • Charlie

    I now have my tax ID and have sent it to my employer as I have been being taxed class 6 since working. Will the German payroll partner automatically transfer me the money or do I need to fill out a document in order to get the money back?

    Reply

    • Reply to Charlie

  • Hernan

    Hello. I'm having a problem invoicing a company in Spain from Germany. I am a small business so I don't have a VAT-number, only a Steuernummer, but this company says it is mandatory for an intercomunitarian transaction. I didn't have this problem when I was registered in Spain and invoicing German companies. Are they correct?

    Reply

    • Reply to Hernan

    • Matt P

      Yes. For cross border b2b billing the EC you should be providing a UmStNr. aka VAT ID (DE______) if you don't want to charge VAT or have VAT charged to you (reverse charge rules for b2b service transactions in the EC). Often companies use the existence of this VAT number (having it on file) to ensure they are charging VAT appropriately. In my case if someone in another EC country that claims to be a business can't give me a VAT ID I have to charge them VAT from my country as if they were a consumer.

      Your Steuernummer works in place of a UmStNr. within germany...but not when trading with other EC countries.

      When filling out the Steuer Fragebogen form that you sent to the finanzamt to register as freelancer, there is an option to request an UmStrNr. https://i.imgur.com/woeGOv5.png

      After processing/approving your Fragebogen your local finanzamt will send you your new Steuernummer (use in germany). If you check the right box, they will then forward application for UmStNr to the central german tax administration to issue the DE____ number. Probably takes another 3 weeks or so. If you didn't check the box or receive an UmStrNr after a month of being granted your Steuernr you can request one online from the German tax authority.

      https://www.bzst.de/DE/Steuern_International/USt_Identifikationsnummer/Vergabe/Vergabe_node.html#faq28770

      If you have to do monthly UmSt-Voranmeldung every month anyway, might as well get a proper VAT number for putting on your invoices and trading with EC community.

      Reply

      • Reply to Matt P

  • Chrissie

    Hey, I registered about 5 weeks ago and still haven't received my tax number even though when my workplace checked the processing of it online they said it was in the post (this was last week). Do you have any idea why this might be?

    Reply

    • Reply to Chrissie

  • Anupama

    It has already been more then a week and i still have not got my tax number yet.

    Reply

    • Reply to Anupama

    • Nicolas Bouliane

      As the guide says, it takes around two weeks to get the number. If you don't have a tax ID, you can still start working. However, you will be taxed at the maximum rate (42%). You will need to fill a tax declaration to get that money back.

      Reply

      • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

  • Maria Lialiou

    I would like to ask you if you get the Tax ID number just with the first Anmeldung. I was anmelden in Germany (Potsdam) in 2016, for one semester as I was Erasmus student. Then, I got abmelden and now I register myself again as I am back in Berlin to do my master. So will I take a new identifikationummer or will I have the same? I went to Finanzamt but the didn't speak English and they understood that I wanted the Steuernummer which is different..

    Reply

    • Reply to Maria Lialiou

    • Nicolas Bouliane

      The tax ID (not the tax number) is unique and permanent. If you already have one, it should not change.

      Reply

      • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

  • Kotsiri Konstantina

    Please I am working in the procurement department of Ministry of Finance and i would like to know the VAT number of a company that has home base in Frankfurt and is called " Bureau van Dijk Electronic Publishing GMBH". Thank you in advance.

    Reply

    • Reply to Kotsiri Konstantina

  • Jamie

    I've just moved to an area with a different Finanzampt. I'm wondering if my Freelance Steuernummer automatically changes or do I have to apply for a new one. Can't find any info about this.

    Reply

    • Reply to Jamie

    • Nicolas Bouliane

      I am not 100% certain, but if I recall correctly, you will have to resubmit the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung with the correct information.

      Reply

      • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

  • Kornelija Gjorgjieska

    Can I get my total amount of tax for working in Germany only with my identification number?

    Reply

    • Reply to Kornelija Gjorgjieska

  • Ruth Nyirenda

    I would like to find out if example i have the tax ID number from my country which is a non EU country. I can i use the same even here in Germany. Thank you

    Reply

    • Reply to Ruth Nyirenda

    • Nicolas Bouliane

      The German tax ID is to identify people at the German Finanzamt. It is completely unrelated to tax IDs in other countries.

      Reply

      • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

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