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 IdentificationsnummerIdentifikationsnummer, 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 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. It's 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, 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 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 "DE999999999".

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), since small businesses do not need charge VAT1.

Comments

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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