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.


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.


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 anything after that time, you may request a new copy 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 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.


  • Reply Jessica 08/01/2019 at 22:37

    Hello! Thank you for the great information on this subject. I am planning to arrive in Berlin in February and have been asked for a German tax number from my employer. I was wondering if this is still available to obtain if I do not yet have a registered address? I am spending the first week in a hostel and staying on friends sofas for the rest of my time until I can search for properties to rent in person. Thank you very much,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/01/2019 at 13:26

      Hey Jessica. Unfortunately, since this is your first time as a resident in Germany, that’s not the case. You need to first register.

  • Reply Leonidas 06/01/2019 at 02:34

    Hello and thanks for all the info! I have a small question!

    In 2013 I went through the Anmeldung process and obtained the Identifikationsnummer that also serves as Steuer-ID. In 2016 I left Berlin and went through the Abmeldung process.

    Now I am going back to Berlin. I believe I don’t need to obtain a new Steuer-ID, since the one I obtained in 2013 is “lebenslang gueltig”, and all I need to do is go for the Anmeldung again, and just tell them that I have already obtained a Steuer-ID in the past (which they will automatically detect I guess once they type in my name). Is my understanding right?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/01/2019 at 13:58

      Hey Leoniads. Make sure to differentiate the Identifikationsnummer and the Steuernummer. I don’t know if the Bürgeramt can have access to the Finanzamt’s database and tell that right away. After the Anmeldung, you can always go the Finanzamt to double-check that.

  • Reply Jay 05/01/2019 at 19:03

    Hi Bastien, thanks for all the useful info!
    I have found a job in Berlin and am supposed to start this coming Monday (in two days). The problem is I am not yet registered (anmeldung) and also do not have a tax number. I have an address where I can register and took the soonest available appointment to do the anmeldung (in two weeks). I am now wondering whether this is going to be a big problem for my employer and can I even begin to work without the anmeldung and steuernummer? I am a british citizen so (still) EU by the way.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/01/2019 at 13:54

      Hey Jay. Not this is not preventing you from getting paid or signing the contract. However, without a Steuernummer, your employer won’t be able to apply the right income tax rate and you will be taxed to the maximum rate. You lose a bit of money but you can recover that next year with a Steuererklärung (more info here).

  • Reply Ayyarsami 22/12/2018 at 20:35

    Dear Bastien,
    Thanks for the useful info.
    I am working in Schwabisch Gmund from Nov 2nd 2018 to Jan 31st 2019.
    I received tax ID today.
    When I communicate to my pay roll team, they informed me that tax ID can only be added in January pay roll. So my tax ID is not added in pay roll for the months November and December 2018.

    Is to possible to claim tax return from November 2018? Or I can claim only for January 2019?

    Many thanks in Advance.!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/12/2018 at 22:26

      Hey Ayyarsami. Yes, it’s possible, provided they give you a Steuerbescheinigung for your work in 2018.

  • Reply Halil 21/12/2018 at 11:42

    Hello, firstly thank you for all information that you explained. I came Germany via Blue Card for working from Turkey. At same time my wife and son got Blue Card visa because of me.

    My question about Tax Class. My family live in Turkey, our plan is to come here 6 months later. I have contract for my apartment and shows that just I live in Germany and I went to Burgerburo to make reqistration of residence. During this process I gave him my family passport copies, blue card visa copies, national wedding and birth certificate and he took them a got them all document copies.

    And all this document will be forwarded to Finanzamt in order to isse Tax ID. I wonder which Tax class they will issue for me? In my opinion it should be Tax class 3 but I am not sure they have to live together with me and registered in Germany in order to get class 3 or all these documents are enough to get class 3?

    Thank you and merry christmas.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/12/2018 at 22:21

      Hey Halil. Have you looked at this post about changing tax classes? In case you are put in the right tax class in your opinion, you can always make a request to change when they joined you here.

  • Reply Morgane 11/12/2018 at 10:35

    Hi !
    I’ve got my anmeldung and when to the Finanzamt to get my tax ID. That’s when I discovered I was registered to the wrong address. Now I have my tax ID but to the wrong address. Do you think I can still give my tax number to my employer or will it change when I will go to change my anmeldung ?

    Thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/12/2018 at 09:23

      Hey Morgane. Changing adress can sometimes lead to a change in tax id, but usually when moving in a different city. You can still give your current tax ID and give your new one if it changes.

  • Reply Daniela P 27/11/2018 at 05:59

    I just found a job in Berlin but I need to give invoices, I still haven’t visit the Finanzamt and don’t have my Tax ID number.
    I already register in the Anmeldung, but no one from Finanzamt send me a letter never. And I did this one year ago.

    I want to know if I have to register as a freelancer or just with the ID number can I give invoices?

    Thank you for your time.

    Have a good day.

  • Reply Julie 01/11/2018 at 16:38

    I’m a EU citizen and I’ll be in Berlin for a three months internship. I’ve read online I don’t need Anmeldung if I stay in Germany just for three months, but my employer told me it’s best to do Anmeldung to get my TAX ID and avoid maximum taxation. Is that correct?
    I’m still looking for a room in WG and I’ll probably find one after my work’s starting date. Does this mean that my first paycheck will be subject to maximum taxation? Will I be able to avoid maximum taxation in the following two months if I’m able to do Anmeldung?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/11/2018 at 10:41

      Hey Julie. Your employer is correct. As soon as you get an Tax ID, you will be able to move tax classes and not be taxed at the maximum rate. There might be a bit of delay for the admin process to go through so it all depends on the timing i suppose.

  • Reply Monica Sedo 30/10/2018 at 20:48

    I am Spanish and I have just registered as a citizen in Berlin. I am planning on going to my nearest finanzamt tomorrow. I have a few questions.
    -Do i need an appointment?
    – What documents do i need to take with me?
    – What will they ask me?
    – And last but not least, what will they provide me with there? (The Identifikationsnummer and/or the steuenummer?)

    Also, I have read from previous comments some people did it online, some others waited 2 weeks… how does it work exactly? I need it asap to be able to be hired by the company that is offering me the job.

    Thank you so much for writing this blog and answering to our questions. Its super helpful!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/10/2018 at 10:44

      Hey Monica. You don’t need an appointment. Meldebescheinigung and an ID document are enough. As mentioned in the post, you can go to your local Finanzamt for your Steuernummer. Timing is up to you. You can wait or not wait.

  • Reply Tony 24/10/2018 at 15:15

    Hi Bastien,
    I lived in Berlin for 18 months before moving back to Ireland a year ago. I have recently been offered a job in Cologne and will be moving there in the next 2 weeks. Can I use all the same tax information or will I have to get a new Steuernummer when I get my Anmeldung? Also, I will be subletting for the first 2 months, if I don’t register with the Burgeramt until I find a long-term place, will this mean I won’t be able to obtain a Steuernummer? Would you recommend I register with my temporary address? Would a letter from my roommate be sufficient?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/10/2018 at 22:35

      Hey Tony, your Steuernummer will change, the Steuer-ID stays the same.

  • Reply Tasha 14/09/2018 at 16:58

    Hi, I was wondering how long it takes for your tax ID to come through once you have had the appointment and registered. Is this something they issue right away with your Anmeldung or it comes in the post at a later date? I have my appointment booked for my Anmeldung but need my tax ID as soon as possible to get on the payroll with my new employer.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/09/2018 at 09:09

      Hey Tasha, It comes through the post a few days after your Anmeldung, up to 10 days sometimes.

  • Reply Jussi 07/09/2018 at 16:24

    Hi Bastien
    After my Anmeldung, I did receive in the post later an 11-digit Persönliche Identifikationsnummer. That’s all I have.
    I’ll be starting my first job soon. Is it correct I still need to get a German tax ID (Steuernummer), by going to the Finanzamt?
    Thanks for clarifying all this trickiness.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/09/2018 at 23:11

      Hi Jussi. You should have received by now if you mentioned you needed one for work. If nnot, you can ask at the Finanzamt, yes.

      • Reply gilad levy 12/10/2018 at 18:31

        Hi thanks for your info. i need to open kleinerunternummer and i went to finanzamt, filled some papers, and after 2 weeks got one paper sheet by mail with personliche identifikationsnummer. is that all i need and i can create my own invoices now using this number? or i need anything else? thanks

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/10/2018 at 11:13

          Hey Gilad. As mentioned in the post, there is a difference between your Identifikationsnummer and your Steuernummer. You need to have your Steuernummer on your invoices.

  • Reply Chanchal 09/08/2018 at 01:09

    Dear Bastien,

    First of all, thank you so much for useful information. I have a query – what is the difference between tax ID and social security number ? most of people say that its same but my employer is asking both of them. Where can I get the Social Security Number from ?

    Thanks in advance!
    – Chanchal

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/08/2018 at 22:38

      Hey there. Well one is called Tax ID and the other Sozialversicherungsausweis. You should have received this document at home, when you started working.

  • Reply Kashi Ramanathan 26/07/2018 at 19:07

    I’m currently employed in Finland and will be moving to Germany to stay with my Family. However I continue to work for my Finnish employer remotely from Germany. I know that after Anmeldung, I will be issued a Tax ID and I’m obliged to pay taxes in Germany for the income I earn.

    My question is how does taxation work in this case?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 27/07/2018 at 22:43

      Hi Kashi. You will need to look into avoiding double taxation by the process defined Finland and Germany for their citizens (Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen). More info here. But i’m sure there is plenty of enough in your own language with the right Google search. Good luck !

  • Reply Johann 23/06/2018 at 15:56

    I am a person with dual nationality (Romanian/British) and I am looking to work in Germany for 2 months since I will be staying for my summer holiday. Since I am staying for less than 3 months and need German tax ID for the job i applied for, is there a fast way of obtaining this or do I still need to register to a German address and go through the long process for around 2 weeks and if so what would be the best approach?
    Would appreciate any insight on this matter.
    Best regards,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/06/2018 at 20:14

      Hi Johann. If you want to work here, there is no way around this i’m afraid, unless are you are able to bill your employer some other way from home.

  • Reply Thiago Muller 22/06/2018 at 12:22

    Dear Sir. I was wondering if you could help me by giving some light. I was born and raised in Brazil, but hold the German passport because of family roots. I do not speak German and never lived in Germany. I was transferred from Brazil to to the Netherlands last year. Since I am an EU citizen, the move was quite smooth in terms of paperwork. We are seen and treated as EU nationals. My kids in the Netherlands receive child support and I know I can also ask for a supplemental support from Germany since they are also Germans. I would need the TAX ID to fill out the forms. The main issue is I do not have a TAX ID. I never lived in Germany and never applied for it. I have tax ids in Brazil and Netherlands. Any idea or advice you can give me on getting a TAX ID if I do not live in Germany, but I am a German Citizen? Many thanks and looking forward to any valuable information.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/06/2018 at 14:27

      Hi Thiago. I might be wrong but common logic would lead me to tell you that you can’t have one without being/having been a German resident before. Maybe you should contact a specialist about this?

  • Reply Bekzod 01/06/2018 at 11:08

    Hi, I have moved to Berlin last year. My wife and a daughter just joined me and we moved to another place. We have done anmeldung recently. I have already received Steuerliche Identifikationsnummer in my previous address. I am going to start from June internship in Berlin and I am not sure if I will be taxed accordingly. Should I go to Finanzamt and ask for change of my tax category? Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/06/2018 at 20:01

      Hi Bekzod. When your marriage has been made official in Germany and you want to change your tax class, you can ask for a change at the Finanzamt yes. By default, you two will be on 4/4 but it might be worth to go for 3/5 if you will earn a lot more than your wife.

  • Reply Daniel 31/05/2018 at 12:50

    I work as a freelance journalist and my first taxable year living and earning in Berlin (previously I was paying tax in the UK) was 2017. I received a tax number shortly after I did my Anmeldung late in 2016 but have had no other correspondence from the Finanzamt. I received a bit of conflicting advice about when I needed to file my first tax return and now I’m panicking, as the deadline’s here. Any advice on what my first steps should be? Much appreciated!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/05/2018 at 16:24

      Hi Daniel. I think you answered your own question: as a freelancer with taxable income in Germany in 2017, you need to submit now. 🙂

      • Reply Daniel Friebe 01/06/2018 at 11:26

        Thank you! Am on the case.

  • Reply Babi 25/05/2018 at 23:16

    Dear Bastian,
    I am arriving in Germany next two weeks. I am foreign and my employer is asking for the Tax ID in advance. Is it possible to request my Tax ID before I arrive in Germany? The only way I can receive it is by mail, isnt it?
    Thanks a lot.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/05/2018 at 22:21

      Hi Babi. This is not possible as you need to have gone through the Anmeldung first.

  • Reply Alexandru Calin 24/05/2018 at 14:11

    Kind of you to help expats, thank you. I’ve received the 11 digit tax number last year, but this year I’ve deregistered my address and quit my job in Berlin. But now I might come back. Is it correct I can forward my existent 11 digit number to my potential new employer and that I will be taxed in the right class? Thank you,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/05/2018 at 22:27

      Hi Alex. Hard to say, depends on your marital/partner status. If nothing has changed on that front, there is no reason to see your tax class change.

      • Reply Alexandru Calin 18/06/2018 at 10:02

        Hi Bastian, thank you again for your support. I’ve given my employer the 11 digit Steuer ID, but they’re telling me that because right now I am not registered at Burgeramt, I might be taxed in Class 6. As long as I have my for a lifetime Steuer ID, why do I have to register again at Burgeramt to be taxed in the correct class? Is my employer doing something wrong? Kind regards,

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/06/2018 at 14:09

          Hi Alexandru. I can’t see any other way, i’m afraid.

  • Reply mimi 18/05/2018 at 12:50

    Hi Bastien- please help! i’m due to start work in Berlin in a few weeks (i’m from the UK) but the work will only last a couple of months- it’s freelance teaching. I expect to make no more than £3000 and then I will be leaving Berlin. Of course I need to get a Tax number to get paid but my question is- is it necessary to still do a tax return when my salary for the year will be so small and I am leaving the country after?

    Thank you!!!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 20/05/2018 at 19:51

      Hi Mimi. Well in that case why don’t you bill with your british tax ID/Freelancing? Since you are not resident, that would be enough, would it not?

  • Reply Georgiana 02/05/2018 at 14:33

    Dear Bastien,

    Here`s a stupid question: is there a possibility to get another copy of the Meldebescheinigung?!
    In my case, I did the stupid thing of giving it to my employer and now the dude in charge of the documents can`t find it. Since then I moved to a different apartment and I have a different paper for that, but I don`t remember what was on the first Meldebescheinigung and if I`m missing something by not having it.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/05/2018 at 22:17

      Hi Georgiana. Yes. You can to the Bürgeramt to request a copy.

  • Reply Jon 26/03/2018 at 10:43

    Hi, I arrived in Berlin seven weeks ago and have my anmeldeung but never received my steuernummer. I went to the finzamt to get it but they said they cant give it out and directed me to a website where i filled in my details and it will be posted again. My only worry is that, I wont be registered at that address after this week, i’m moving to a sublet where i won’t be registered either. However, I have requested my post be forwarded on from the original address i was registered at. Is this likely to come through and is their any other way to retrieve the steurnummer?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/03/2018 at 19:25

      Hi Jon. You need that little paper and they won’t send it via email. In my opinion, as long as you receive it by normal mail, you should be fine.

    • Reply Ahmed 10/04/2018 at 11:06


      You can subscribe to the redirecting mails in the post office so all the mails that will send to your old address can be redirected to the new one.

  • Reply Ben 22/03/2018 at 11:13

    Hi there,

    I am looking to apply for my tax number in germany, I am attending my anmeldung later today and have permission from a friend to say I am staying at their residence temporarily.

    My question is, after I have received my tax number is it illegal to then not have a fixed permanent address? As I will be travelling around the country a lot for the company and also working in other countries.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/03/2018 at 19:01

      Hi Ben. You just need to have an address where you are registered and where you can receive letter the German administration can send you.

  • Reply Giulia C 07/03/2018 at 14:51

    Hi! I’ll go to the Rentenversicherung to obtein my Steuernummer, What documents do I need? ID, anmeldung maybe? Thank you in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/03/2018 at 17:33

      Hi Giulia. Why would you go there?

  • Reply R 05/03/2018 at 18:47

    hello! Thanks for the helpful info. I have a freelancer number issued (yay) but it’s linked to my current address in neukolln (thats the address I registered with). I will be moving to Kreuzberg shortly. Do I need to reapply for a new number and/or notify the finanzamt of the change of address (and if so what is the process)? Or do something else I have not thought of? I would hope not as it’s the same city/country!! Thank you

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/03/2018 at 17:28

      Hi there. You don’t need a new number and in theory, you don’t need to let your Finanzamt know but it’s recommended.

  • Reply Ali 11/02/2018 at 08:10

    Hi everyone.
    I’ve married outside Germany and my wife got a familienzusammenführung visa and successfully registered and got her temporary residence permit. Do I have to do something to change may Tax class from single to married?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/02/2018 at 21:12

      Hi Ali. You can switch so you are classified in the high(er) earner category, and your wife the low(er) earner, as long as that’s the case (Steuerklasse 3/5). You can do that with that form.

  • Reply Coleman 06/02/2018 at 12:16

    So that a colleague and I here in Hamburg could be sure to be in this month’s payroll processing, we were encouraged to get our Tax ID number (Steueridentifikationsnummer; also known as “Steuer-ID / IdNr / Steuer-IdNr”) to our employer ASAP instead of waiting for the official mailed document. After having done a ton of research on this site and others, we were told that having done our Anmeldung we could simply go any Hamburg Kundenzentrum. This was indeed the case: we both went and simply provided our passports and they were able to provide an official stamped print out of the number on the spot. No need to go to the Finanzamt or wait a full week (I had done my Anmeldung only 4 working days before going to the Kundenzentrum). Hope that is helpful for others!

    • Reply PM 24/04/2018 at 15:54

      Hi, Thanks for info! Based on that I went to the Finanzamt in Berlin and was able to get Tax ID number on the second working day after Anmeldung.

  • Reply Brandon 02/02/2018 at 21:41

    Hi there, bit of a problem. Recently moved to Germany last week and applied for my Tax iD. I have not received it yet and the company was desperate for me to start and I didn’t know how much of an issue it would be without one. They are now telling me that I will be taxed the highest amount as i have not received it in time, which I don’t mind for 1 month but I’m reading that I might not be able to claim this back. Is that correct?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/02/2018 at 20:22

      Hi Brandon. Yes, you can claim it back.

    • Reply Lenka 13/02/2018 at 09:19

      I will be in similar situation. Apparently it can be claimed end of the year. How long did that take to receive the number? When applying will friends apartment adress suffice for the application form?

  • Reply Ryan 04/12/2017 at 15:07

    Hi there,

    I registered today. I am wondering, when I leave my current flat and unregister, will I go back to paying 45% tax if I do not immediately register elsewhere or is my tax number permanent. I am concerned because my lease ends in 2 months time and there is no guarantee that my next landlord will register me. The 2 temporary residences I had before this one was not possible to register as the landlord did not want me to. I know this may be illegal but unfortunately it is very common and there is nothing people can do about it if they are desparate for a place to stay. So it would be much appreciated if you could let me know if the tax code I will get in a few weeks will expire when I unregister from this apartment in a couple of months time.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/12/2017 at 21:23

      Hi Ryan. I hardly think you can get in trouble with the Finanzamt because you can’t find a place to stay. I don’t think you will get back to the 45% tax rate right away but the best might be to ask them yourself.

  • Reply Dennis 15/11/2017 at 21:03

    So I’m in a bit of a pickle here. I’ve landed a job in Germany and will be working from Berlin. Also found a shared apartment (WG). However, to get the documents so I can do an anmeldung will take time, it will come AFTER my first paycheck will be issued which is a problem from what I’ve understood.

    However, I’ve heard that they can still pay me, but they have to deduct the maximum amount of tax (45%) until I’m registered? Though not ideal, I’d be ok with that if it’s only the first month but I’m really confused about what to do. Really a bureaucratic nightmare.

    I am an EU citizen and didn’t expect this to be such a weird process.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/11/2017 at 14:54

      Hi Dennis; there is no reason to wait for a paycheck to be able to do the anmeldung. All you need to bring is here.

  • Reply nicole 11/10/2017 at 12:22

    I have a Steuenummer and am currently looking for jobs in Berlin. Is this all I need?
    I have been told that I need the ‘pink paper’ in order to begin working here. Is that true that I need this in order to be considered for employment?
    If so, where do I need to go to get this?
    Thanks for your help and great website.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 11/10/2017 at 20:02

      Hi Nicole, what is that pink paper you talk about?

      • Reply Nicole 01/11/2017 at 10:31

        Hi Bastien,
        Given that I have a Steuernummer, is this enough to allow me to work in Berlin?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/11/2017 at 09:40

          Hi Nicole, if you don’t need a VISA or anything then yes.

  • Reply Muhes 04/10/2017 at 00:12

    Hi there! I already signed a contract as research assistant, now I got a mail from unicastel to fill out some forms when there is required steuer nummer. I dont have this number so i requested it on finanzamt website. My question is : does university transfer my salary in my account before i send this forms to this uni cassel (with steuer nummer ). Thanks a lot

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/10/2017 at 16:41

      Hi Muhes. I don’t think so, but ask the University to check.

  • Reply Sarah 15/09/2017 at 14:55

    Hi there!

    I previously lived in Germany as part of a yearlong fellowship in two different states (Köln and Hamburg) and then in Berlin as an au pair. The fellowship and au pair program where both tax-free. I recently started a paid internship in Berlin and need a steuer ID. Is it possible that I already have a steuer ID even though I haven’t been taxed in Germany before?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/09/2017 at 16:05

      Hi Sarah. If you have never received any mails from the Finanzamt, i doubt that you have one.

  • Reply Andi 25/07/2017 at 10:56


    so first of all: I really love the way your blog is structured – I introduce your blog to the Expats joining our company and its super helpful- So thanks a lot for the effort!! It’s amazing

    There ist just one thing that is quite confusing: “What is the Steuernummer : your German tax ID” If you could just change it that the German tax ID ist not the “Steuernummer” but Steueridentifikationsnummer – that’d be super great and would avoid a lot of back and forth explaining that these are two different numbers.

    Thanks a lot in advance.

  • Reply Niamh 17/06/2017 at 16:15

    I preciously worked in Kindergarten as part of praktium during university . I’m sure I had steuernummer on my pay slips .unfortunately can’t find payslips as it was two years ago . I’m moving back to Germany in few months is there any way I can find my old stuernummer ?

    Thanks very much

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/06/2017 at 09:23

      Hi Niamh, just contact your Finanzamt where you registered.

  • Reply Karim 05/04/2017 at 20:27

    I went to the Finanzamt and they told me that the letter paper which contains an 11 digit number called “Personliche Identifikationsnummer” is the Tax Number that i should give to the company, this was also confirmed by the company later.

    I got that letter 1 week after receiving the registration mail (which took 2 weeks to arrive)


  • Reply JS 05/04/2017 at 14:37


    I have received Anmeldung and Personliche Identifikationsnummer. Please can you explain if Personliche Identifikationsnummer is different to Steuernummer? Do I need both of these numbers or are they the same thing?

    Thanks very much!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/04/2017 at 12:09

      Hi Jarred. Those are not the same things and you will receive both yes. Think of your Personliche Identifikationsnummer as your unique ID that will identify you. It never changes. Your Steuernummer can change during your life depending on your type of employment or if you move cities for example. I’ve read somewhere that the first will soon replace the second.

    • Reply Anthony 10/05/2017 at 13:56

      Hey just went to the Finanzamt in Neukölln and Informed me that i couldn’t get my Steuernummer There and that I had to wait for it in the post or go to the federal tax office. Just thought I’d let ya know. Guess I’ll go line up at the Bürger Amt

  • Reply Ryan Gloor 17/02/2017 at 00:46


    I completed my Amneldung three weeks ago but still haven’t received my tax code in the post. Should I continue waiting or would it be best to visit the Finanzamt?



    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 20/02/2017 at 09:50

      Hi Ryan. Yes, you should probably go now.

  • Reply Arun 28/01/2017 at 21:27

    Hi guys

    I’m a bit confused. I’ve received a Tax ID in the post and have registered with the Buergeramt. Do I still need to get a Lohnsteuerkarte/ nummer from the Finanzamt? I’m not a freelancer, and will be starting a full time role with a local company.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/01/2017 at 10:36

      Hi Arun. As mentioned in the post, this is actually the normal process. You only need to go to the Finanzamt when you don’t receive it by post in the firstplace. All good.

      • Reply Arun 04/02/2017 at 17:23

        Thanks for your reply Basti. I went to the Finanzamt anyway, and they confirmed that the employer should get the ElTSAM information from the letter containing the tax reference number 🙂

    • Reply Ana 02/02/2017 at 15:51

      Hi there,
      I just did my Anmeldung and they told me that the ID number is just for Germans.
      Also, I will like to do the Tax Card tomorrow in a Finanzamt. Does anyone knows if I need an appointment or I just show up?
      I need fresh information, because things have changed since this post was written.

      Thank you!

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/02/2017 at 17:54

        Hello Ana. There must have been some kind of misunderstanding since everyone working in Germany, German or not, receives a unique Steuernummer. As mentioned in the post, it is preferable to wait 1 or 2 weeks after your Anmeldung before showing up at the Finanzamt. You can go there without an appointment.

    • Reply Ana 02/02/2017 at 15:53

      Hi there! How long did it take for you to receive your Tax ID?

  • Reply RP 25/11/2016 at 10:02

    Hi, I received my freelance tax number in the mail but I lost the document. I how do I quickly get this info again or who can I contact?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/11/2016 at 10:19

      Hi RP. Thanks for leaving a message. You need to go to your Finanzamt, pick a number, wait in line and ask for a new copy. Alternatively, you can also find it on your bills, as you must put it there too.

      • Reply RP 25/11/2016 at 10:23

        Ah ok… well it’s not in my bills as I also work full time and have some freelance work coming up on the side.

        • Reply RP 25/11/2016 at 10:28

          HR at my full time job told me I just need my regular steuernummer for freelance work if I already registered at the finanzamt for freelance. That makes no sense to me. I thought the point of the “fragebogen fuer steuerlichen erfassung’ was to get the seperate freelance tax number which is too be used on all freelance work. She claims the one I have works for that same purpose now too since it has to do with my tax id or something. I speak broken german and am very confused right now.

          • Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/11/2016 at 09:49

            It can happen that you have the same ID number for both your normal job and freelance job yes. The main thing is that it is all declared with your Finanzamt. They decide if you get a separate number for your freelance jobs or not.

  • Reply Luke Kristofski 07/11/2016 at 10:26

    I am a New Zealand citizen currently living in Berlin on a one year working Holliday visa and I am looking to start my own consultancy company and become a self employed free lancer. Ive been informed I need to get a Gewerbeerlaubnis (commercial license) but in order to get this apparently I also need to get a Aufenthaltserlaubnis (resident permit)

    Do you know weather or not I am allegeable for this?

  • Reply SB 22/09/2016 at 09:39


    Thanks for this very useful information. I registered to Burgeramt in Karow/Buch on Sept.15th and today I went to finanzamt in Mehringdam on Sept.22th at 8:00 am. The officer told me that is too early for the Tax ID info to arrive to them. But luckily my info was already there at their system. So I COULD get my steuer-id after 1 week directly from the finanzamt.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/09/2016 at 10:06

      Thanks for the info. I will append the post.

      • Reply SB 22/09/2016 at 14:54

        Also I want to say that the officer spoke English – this was the most scary part for me as I do not speak a single word in German – and everything was very fast. I was early there, but there was only one other guy, and I waited only for a couple of minutes and getting my info took only a few minutes. Everything was so smooth. I wanted to share this experience because there is sooo much bad experience being shared in the forums and I was very very worried about these bureaucracy things after reading all such unpleasant experiences.

  • Reply Manuel 14/09/2016 at 14:24

    Be careful guys, there a trick:

    I did my anmeldung this morning and went straight to the finanzamt to get my tax id and it was impossible as you have to wait one week from the moment you receive the anmeldung. I’m not sure why… But I just wasted two hours!
    Maybe this should be added in the article somewhere.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/09/2016 at 09:49

      Hey Manuel. Thanks a lot for the input. I didn’t know this limitation. I didn’t mention it because people usually wait a week or two to see if they receive a TAX ID by post, which they do most of the time. I will add it. Thanks again. 🙂

  • Reply Marina Noelia Cabane 18/08/2016 at 12:26

    Hi there,
    Just to let you know, I called and they say that now they changed the procedure, we need to complete this form and they send it to your house

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/08/2016 at 16:56

      Thanks for the update Marina. Are you sure this is correct? Because this link makes me land on a form where i can ask to be sent my IdNr when i already have one and i forgot or lost it.

      • Reply Marina Noelia Cabane 19/08/2016 at 18:31

        It is a bit confusing though, because it says „Repeated Inquiry of your tax ID“ but the lady on the phone said, that we should use it also if we want to get a tax ID in the first place. So maybe in six weeks I can tell you if I got the card or not.

        • Reply Marina Noelia Cabane 01/09/2016 at 17:21

          Ok, I received a letter from them requesting a copy of my Anmeldung proof and also copy of passport. I send those two things and now waiting. Will keep you updated

      • Reply Marina Noelia Cabane 14/09/2016 at 10:22

        Hi there! I did receive my Tax Number now! It took less than a month, so keep that in mind.
        I work for a company here, not a freelancer, so I’m not sure if this also applies for freelancers.

  • Reply waqas 12/11/2015 at 00:44

    Thanks A lot for yours kind information , today i have been told by my Admin that i need my Steuer Id Number because i have been working since august and i didnt have my St Nummer,after being told I was affraid what to do and where to find it, as i am not good in Deutsch Language but yours information helped me A lot .
    firstly i will go to Bürgramt after that if it wont work then i will go to financeamt hope it will work. Again God Bless you and many thanks 🙂

  • Reply Jonas 01/06/2015 at 22:57

    Hi there,
    i would like to point out that the physical tax card is not being issued anymore, it’s virtual and online.

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 02/06/2015 at 12:54

      Thanks for the precision. I indeed forgot to put that in. 🙂

    • Reply Nicö 19/01/2016 at 13:06

      Hi Jonas,
      Where can I find this? I’ve looked everywhere.


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