tax id tax number germany

What is the difference between tax ID and tax number in Germany?

You are about to start your first job in Germany, but you do not have a tax ID number? Or do you need a tax number instead?

Tax identification number (Identifikationsnummer)

This is a unique 11-digit number that is provided by the tax office (Finanzamt). 

After registering an address in Germany (Anmeldung), the tax office will send your tax identification number to the address that you have registered. It could take 2 – 3 weeks.

Whoever plans to work in Germany needs a tax ID number, and the employer will ask their newly hired employee to provide them this number. 

This number stays the same for your whole life.

Tax number (Steuernummer)

This is completely different from the above. Steuernummer refers to a freelancer or business tax number. It is has a format like this: xx/xxx/xxxxx.

You will receive a new tax number when you move to another Bezirk, and after you register a new address. 

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Commonly asked questions:

  1. Can I get my tax identification number before registering in Germany?
    No. You will only get it when you have an address in Germany and have registered the address at Bürgeramt.
  2. What should I do if I have lost my tax ID?
    You can request a duplicate online or visit a tax office nearby. 
  3. I am about to start my job and I need my tax ID right away. What can I do?
    After you register your address at Bürgeramt, you can go to the local tax office around 1 week later. The officer can find your ID in the system, and you may get it at the spot immediately. Remember to bring your passport with you. It also does not hurt to have your Meldebescheinigung (the address registration certificate) with you, just in case. 
  4. Can I get my tax ID on the phone?
    Very unlikely. You better visit the local tax office and get it right away there.
  5. Can I start my job without a tax ID?
    No. Your employer has the obligation to get your tax ID before you start working there. Without it, you are not supposed to work in Germany.

Find out which tax office is nearby.

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