On many occasions you will be asked for your tax identification number (Steuer-Identifikationsnummer) or your tax number (Steuernummer). In this article, we explain what these numbers mean exactly, where you can find them and how they differ from each other.
The tax ID - your lifelong companion
The tax identification number is an 11-digit number that every person registered in Germany receives and that does not change for life. It is unchangeable, unique and permanent.
The Federal Central Tax Office (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern) manages the tax IDs and the associated data.
Where can I find my tax ID?
If you are registered in Germany, you will automatically receive your tax ID by mail. In the case of newborns, it is often the first letter the child receives. You should keep this notice in a safe place.
You can also find the tax ID on your employer's annual payslip or on your income tax assessment notice from the tax office.
In the Taxfix app, the tax ID must be entered so that the tax office can assign your tax return and identify you without any doubt.
💡 You can't find your tax ID? Then you can send a request to the Federal Central Tax Office.
What do I need the tax ID for?
You need the tax ID number for example:
for your electronic tax declaration (e.g. if you use Taxfix)
when you start a new employment relationship
for notifications to the tax authorities
for certain applications such as child benefits or pensions
Which data is stored?
The following data is linked to the tax ID:
full name incl. previous names
date and place of birth
day of moving in and out
Date of death
The data is stored for 20 years after the death of the taxpayer.
Who has access to the stored data?
The tax identification number simplifies communication between and with the tax authorities. Tax authorities, social insurances (such as health insurance companies) or banks work with this number.
Section 139b of the German Fiscal Code stipulates that only the tax authorities may retrieve this data. Other institutions, such as social insurance agencies, receive your number, but not the information linked to it.
The tax number
The tax number is a 13-digit number that is assigned to you by your responsible tax office. Unlike the tax ID, it is not permanent - for example, if you move to another federal state, you will receive a new tax number.
The tax offices use the tax number for identification purposes and as a file number for their internal organization. In the Taxfix app, on the other hand, the tax number does not have to be entered - here, it is sufficient to enter the tax ID.
How do I get my tax number?
As soon as you file your first tax return, the responsible tax office will create your tax number for the first time and notify you by mail. If you have never filed a tax return before, you do not yet have a tax number.
Where can I find my tax number?
Your tax number can be found in the top left-hand corner of your tax office's income tax assessment.
If you have not received this yet, you can ask for the number at your local tax office. Each town or district is assigned a specific tax office. You can find out exactly which one on the website of your city or state.
New living situation - new tax number
If your life situation changes, you will receive a new or additional tax number, for example in the case of:
Marriage (in the case of joint assessment)
Application for individual assessment after previous joint assessment
Taking up a self-employed activity
In contrast to the tax ID, you can have several tax numbers. For example, if you have a joint tax ID number with your spouse and are self-employed, you will have two tax ID numbers. For your work as a self-employed person, you only use the corresponding number.
Why do I need a tax number?
The tax number is used for communication with the tax authorities and for processing income tax, sales tax and trade tax.
For the income tax return, on the other hand, you use your tax identification number.