How to obtain your tax ID in Germany

Feeling this excitement in the air ? This electricity gently floating around ? This time you got it : your first job ! Congrats because it was not easy… Now the company is asking you for your German tax number; your Steuernummer. Let’s have a look on what this thing is and how to get it !

german tax card
Keep calm and listen along !

 

What is the Steuernummer : your German tax ID, sort of

Confusingly enough, there are 2 numbers attributed to you when you first arrive in Germany, with different uses and characteristics.

Steuernummer:

The Steuernummer is a document issued by your local tax authority office (Finanzamt) that will accompany you through your every job. On this document will be listed your personal situation and characteristics such as marital status, number of kids or religion. It holds your profile as a tax payer so to speak, that will be linked your tax number. The German tax ID number is a very important document that is confidential and should only be given to your employer.

If you move to a different city or city district, or change from employee to self-employed, this number can change.

Identifikationsnummer:

This is number is issued only once and unique to you only. It will never change and stay with you whatever your situation is, where you move, etc. It will be used to identify you by the Finanzamt as well. This, you don’t need to communicate to your employer or anybody else.

These 2 ways of profiling you as a tax payer are meant to merge to be a single German tax ID in the future. A bright future where German bureaucracy will be simple and friction-free. How beautiful does that future look? 😉

What is it used for?

For employees;

It is given to your employer so taxes can be taken out of your wage every month. With the Steuernummer in hands, the employer can communicate to tax services how much your wage is and thus, what share of income tax should be transferred to them. It is very handy because you don’t have to care how much your taxes are at the end of year. Your tax statement will only be used to get money back, in the case you were taxed too much.You now understand why your company that so badly.  I have written are more detailed post about how to get money back at the end of the year here (Steuererklärung).

For self-employed people:

Your Steuernummer will be used in numerous cases, whenever communicating with the tax authorities (the Finanzamt); paying your VAT for the month, paying your local trade tax, or income tax. It’s mostly about paying unfortunately. You off-course also use it to do a tax return.

Where do I get my German tax ID (Steuernummer)?

When you are first registering in Germany

If you had this information before hand, you probably asked to get one during your Anmeldung process. In this case, the information was shared with the central tax office which will send it to you by post.

In case you didn’t receive your German tax ID, do wait 2 weeks or so before going to the Finanzamt (local tax office). The administration needs that time to update your case/files first. If you still haven’t received your Identifikationsnummer anything, you may request a new copy of from the Federal center for taxes directly on this page. Just enter your personal information that is displayed on your Meldebescheinigung and you are good to go. You can only receive a new copy of this document per post, so wait a few days after this.

If you have any other questions, you can also directly book an appointment at your local Finanzamt (from your Bezirke) or call them. There are 2 offices you can go to for this; your local Bürgeramt, or the Finanzamt. I strongly advise you to choose the second option. There are far less people there, avoiding long waiting times.

You can find here the relevant Finanzamt for you depending where you live in Berlin

Take a number, wait in line, answer a few questions and in 10 minutes, you will hold your own German tax ID (Steuernummer) number in your hands.

German tax number if you are switching to freelance or self-employed

The process is slightly different for freelancers and micro-companies (Freiberuflich / Gewerbe). You might then need a VAT-number if you want to make bills with VAT, additionally to your normal tax number. If you want to become a freelancer and don’t know where to start for bureaucracy, i have made a dedicated post on the matter here.

I lost my tax ID in Germany, how can i find it again?

If you have lost the paper or forgot how your Identifikationsnummer number goes, you can look at any letters you got from your Finanzamt or pay slips from your employers. You will find it there. If that still doesn’t work, you can request a new copy on this page to receive it by post.

Off to work now. Chop Chop !

Tip 1 : You will be asked if you are believer or not. Don’t take it personally  it is simply used to determine if you should pay taxes for the catholic, protestant, church etc. If you aren’t much in all that, don’t forget to state that you are an atheist ! Otherwise, you will pay more taxes! If you already made that mistake, there is also a way out. More information here.

169 Comments

  • Reply Tomas 30/06/2020 at 09:37

    Hi! I am starting my job in July but it is extremely difficult to get an appointment for Anmeldung and therefore also get the Tax ID. Do you know the tax percentage that will be retained from the salary until I get all the documents?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/07/2020 at 09:59

      Hey Tomas. I think you will be put in tax class 6 automatically, although you can get the difference next year, when doing a tax return.

  • Reply SHAFIQE UR REHMAN 18/06/2020 at 10:37

    I have identification number 11 digits only. Not steuer number. How can I get steuer number? I have not done job and declaration of pay is not possible. Will identification number work?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/06/2020 at 09:44

      Hey Shafiqe, as mentioned in the post, the best is to go to your Finanzamt to request one manually.

  • Reply AMu 26/05/2020 at 21:55

    Hello, thanks for the great post.
    I did my city registration and also got my Steuer Id. My employer is asking me for the Steuer Id. Till now I used to think that this is enough. But now I am a bit confused whether I also need a Steuernummer? The person at Finanzamt told me that I will get Steuernummer only when I do my first tax declaration. Can you please help me in understanding whether for regular employees like me do I also need to give Steuernummer to my employer or only the Steuer Id will do?
    Thank you!

  • Reply Irene 25/05/2020 at 15:48

    Hello!

    I do not have an Anmeldung, but I would like to register for a Tax ID because of my current full time employment.
    I don’t want an Anmeldung because I live with my boyfriend…but will I need this for getting a tax ID?

    Many thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/05/2020 at 09:44

      Hey Irene. You will need to register yes.

      • Reply Ivan 26/06/2020 at 15:09

        Hallo Bastien. I do not have an Anmeldung too, but i have Tax id, Sozialversicherungsnummer,bank konto. because i worked earlier in Germany.
        Can i start this week with work without Anmeldung, because i have termin even on 7 July. I have EU passport too.

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/07/2020 at 09:37

          Hey Ivan. Yes, you can start without being registered but you will be taxed more. Honestly, i don’t understand how can you can have all those things without the Anmeldung done first…

  • Reply Elodie 06/05/2020 at 10:50

    Hey all!

    Does somebody know how does it work to get a tax ID for side hustles while being officially employed?

    thanks a lot !

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/05/2020 at 15:50

      Hey Elodie, you can be freelancing and employed at the same time, that is not an issue. When you register as a freelancer (see guide here), the Finanzamt might or might not give you a new Steuernummer.

  • Reply Ahmad Shah 01/03/2020 at 14:57

    thanks for your great job for helping the peoples,
    I want to be freelancer in Amazon company,to invest on products which i import from outside of Germany do i need to register for tax number or Vat number, which i have to pay tax quarterly to the Government

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/03/2020 at 23:30

      Hey Ahmad. Yes, that would be considered a Gewerbe.

  • Reply Amira Chaachou 13/01/2020 at 10:04

    Hi, I did an internship for 5 months (I had 6 months visa) in Germany on 2018 in Berlin and I had my tax ID, then I left Germany for more than a year. I will be back again to Germany next month, do I need a new tax ID or I can use my old one?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/01/2020 at 09:36

      Hey Amira, you can go the Finanzamt and ask there directly. Your Identifikationsnummer will probably remain the same, but if you move back somewhere else in Germany, your Steuernummer will probably change.

    • Reply Amina 10/04/2020 at 09:28

      Hello, I applied for a freelance tax and VAT ID number. I received that the tax ID in the mail but I am still waiting for VAT ID – it’s been 2 months now. I believe that comes separately. Is that normal to wait this long to get the VAT number? Thank you.

  • Reply Eliza 16/12/2019 at 13:01

    Hi Bastien, the link you provided for the online form to request a Steuernummer doesn’t work (this one – https://www.bzst.de/DE/Steuern_National/Steuerliche_Identifikationsnummer/ID_Eingabeformular/ID_Node.html). Can you update that, please?

  • Reply Jodie 07/11/2019 at 14:00

    Hello! Thank you for the detailed article 🙂

    Berlin newbie here, and just got my ameldung done. However, I haven’t mentioned about the tax id request to the office worker during registration (as I just read your sharing, ya).

    So question is: will I also get the tax id mail to me? Or where should I get one?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 09:53

      Hey Jodie. You can also go to the Finanzamt to request one.

  • Reply Manami 01/11/2019 at 05:14

    Hi,

    Currently my husband is in tax category 1. And i came to Germany now. I will go to Berlin registation office to do the address registation. Now my question is it required for my husband to do the registration again as a married couple as he needs to change the tax category to 4, or it will automatically happen if i do the registration only?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 09:24

      Hey Manami. You need to register your marriage here in Germany, with a an appropriate marriage certificate.

  • Reply Rob 04/09/2019 at 21:22

    Hi.I am working for a german company worldwide but I’m not living in Germany.How can I get a Steuernummer ? Or is it possible without Anmeldung ? Thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/09/2019 at 15:58

      Hey Rob. You are probably taxed from your home country/place of residence then. Why is a Steuernummer needed here?

  • Reply Juliar 27/08/2019 at 08:06

    Hi, do you know if they already merged the Steuernummer and the Identifikationsnummer? I only got a letter with the last one. If they didn’t, then where do I find the former one? Thank you!

  • Reply Melisa Yılmaz 26/08/2019 at 15:51

    Hello, I am from Turkey and I would like to get TAX number from germany. Which documents will i fill and to where, will i send this docs?
    thank you

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 27/08/2019 at 09:25

      Hey Melisa. You’d need to register here, as mentioned in the post.

  • Reply Margarita 11/08/2019 at 09:03

    Hello!could you please tell me if I neee to ask for a new tax number if I moved from Bayern to Berlin?
    Thx!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/08/2019 at 11:00

      Hey Margarita. It’s likely your Steuernummer would change. Better ask yes.

  • Reply S 30/07/2019 at 13:50

    Filling in the Steuernummer form and wondering when the business start date should be. My first registered address in Berlin was November 2017 and I continued to work freelance (as a video editor) for UK companies long-distance while doing a minijob here. I declared my income in both the UK and Germany that year. My first/only freelance job in Berlin I invoiced for in September 2018. Do you know which date I should put down as the business start date? Also the predicted income should be for 2018-2019 or 2019-2020? I’m guessing the prediction should include the minijob too or just freelance work?
    Obviously I am pretty late with this and not sure if there is a penalty for that.. any pointers would be much appreciated 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/07/2019 at 09:10

      Hey S. I would play safe and put the date you registered as a freelancer here in Germany. Your predicition for income with your business should only account for your business.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/07/2019 at 09:34

      Hey S. I would play safe and put the date you registered as a freelancer here in Germany. Your prediction for income with your business should only account for your business.

  • Reply Rob 25/06/2019 at 07:23

    Hi,
    I am registered as living with my family in Baden-Württemberg, but have worked mostly in Luxembourg, so never had to register for tax purposes in Germany.
    Now I have a new job starting in Berlin next Monday, should I go to the Finanzamt upon arrival in Berlin to request the Steuernummer & ID or can someone from my new Company request this on my behalf?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/06/2019 at 16:37

      Hey Rob. Your company can help you apply for it, but you still have to do it yourself.

  • Reply Patrascu Ana 12/06/2019 at 10:09

    Hi, which documents are necessary in order to receive a Steuernummer?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/06/2019 at 11:48

      Hey Ana. No documents, just that you registered at the Bürgeramt before.

  • Reply kapil 25/04/2019 at 17:26

    Hello,
    I registered from the City center because i was moving to other country.
    After 3 months i joined in Germany again then i did city registration and my tay id is same
    but my payroll provider saying that you need to register again in the tax office.
    Because the deduction is more in my salary slip.

  • Reply Stavan Pandya 24/04/2019 at 13:56

    Hi, is it possible to know the unique German Tax ID from Finanzamt?

  • Reply Naomi 13/04/2019 at 23:43

    Hi!
    I’m a bit confused. If I go to the Bürgeramt for Anmeldung, do I get it right now if I have an appointment? Also do I need my Steuernummer and Lohnsteuerkarte for the first period of working? Because I’m afraid that I won’t receive them in time and what if it needs for the contract or sallary? There’s not too much time between my moving and my first working day.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:08

      Hey Naomi. No, you don’t get it right away. It’s not needed to sign the contract but you might pay a higher tax rate for the time you don’t have a tax ID.

  • Reply Mandeepa Patil 12/03/2019 at 16:05

    Hi, thank you for the amazing articles. How do we let the burgeramt know that we want a tax no. as well? Is there somehwere on the anmeldungs form we can do that?
    Kind Regards
    Mandy

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/03/2019 at 08:49

      Hey Mandeepa. Just let the worker know you need a Steuernummer as well, during your appointment at the Bürgeramt.

  • Reply Naomi 05/03/2019 at 00:06

    Hello!

    Thank you for being available for questions, it’s amazing.
    I have worked in Stuttgart in sept/oct 2018.
    I did not and have never lived in Germany, I just worked there then.
    I have one document listing all I earned and all the tax stuff that was taken from it.
    It says ‘ID number’ at some part at the top but there is no number there.
    Can it be possible I didn’t get a number? And does that mean I’m in trouble now?
    Do you know how I can take care of this/obtain one?
    I hope it can done through internet and post because I am in Mexico for the next months.

    Thank you very much!
    Naomi

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/03/2019 at 23:06

      Hey Naomi. You are not a German resident so you should not worry about this. You are to declare to declare your income wherever you are resident.

  • Reply AM 24/02/2019 at 19:44

    Hi, I am living in Berlin with my husband and working from Home for an Indian company. What I should do for my tax id and my registration is in process I just applied for it.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/02/2019 at 20:34

      Hey there. If you are going to be a German resident, you’d need to pay income tax on this job here.

      • Reply Peace 06/07/2019 at 19:55

        Hi I registered 2017and did not get my tax id. My friend got his withen few weeks, and i am about to start a new job in berlin please how can i go about it

        I live in Berlin but my residential address is in Munich, do i need to go ever to munich to apply for the tax id or. Ot

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/07/2019 at 21:34

          Hey Peace. You can request a new copy via the link in the post.

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