What is a tax ID

What is a tax ID and where can I get it from?

The tax ID accompanies every German from cradle to grave and beyond. That means in plain language: Babies are already assigned the identification number and the data collected during life are only deleted 20 years after their own death.

What is the tax identification number?

ID stands for identification number. Eleven digits that have been with every German for a lifetime since 2008. It is immutable, unique, and permanent. The tax identification number is of particular help to the tax authorities who work with this column of numbers. The Federal Central Tax Office, BZSt for short, manages all tax IDs and the associated data such as your full name, date and place of your birth and your current address.

What are the implications for you?

Thanks to the tax identification number, banks, the family benefits office and the tax authorities have been working more closely together since 2008. Tax evaders can be found more quickly by the tax authorities. Since 2011, as a bank customer, you have also always had to provide your tax ID when submitting an exemption order, for example. In this way, investment income such as interest can be assigned to individual people and it is more quickly apparent when the saver lump sum is exceeded. And since 2016 you have to provide your and your child's tax identification number when applying for child benefit. Background: This is how the family benefits office would like to avoid double payments.

However, it may also be that social insurance providers such as health insurance companies or the Federal Employment Agency asks for your tax ID. Because they all use the identification number to transmit information that is important for tax purposes to the tax authorities.

Where do I apply for a tax ID?

You do not need to apply for the tax identification number. The BZSt should have given you your number in 2008 in a letter. If you can no longer find this letter, you can read the column of numbers on your last tax assessment, for example. The BZSt will also inform you about your tax identification number. To do this, send the form online for notification of the tax identification number. The BZSt will then provide you with your tax identification number in writing for reasons of data protection.

What do you do with the tax ID?

You should always include your tax identification number in applications, declarations or communications to the tax office, ideally in the subject. And of course, enter these eleven digits on your tax return. In the case of pensioners, the number is required when submitting the notification of pension receipt.

Our video gives a quick overview of the tax identification number:

Who can access my data?

For reasons of data protection, the data linked to your tax identification number may only be used by the tax authorities. Other bodies, such as pension and health insurance funds, are only given the tax identification number - these bodies do not receive any further data.

How do I get my children's tax ID?

The BZSt will automatically send you the tax identification number by post after the birth of your child. If you can no longer find the letter in your files, the BZSt will send you the letter again. To do this, simply fill out the form above to notify you of your tax identification number.

By the way

The tax ID is always sent to the child's current registration address. This is also the case in the event of a separation or divorce between the parents. If the parent with whom the child is not registered also needs the child's tax identification number, they should fill out the above form and enclose proof of custody - for example a copy of the divorce decree - with the letter. You can find more information and the address to which the letter must be sent on the website of the Federal Central Tax Office.

How do I get a tax identification number as a foreigner?

As soon as you have registered with the residents' registration office, you should automatically receive your tax identification number from the BZSt by post. You have to pass this on to your employer so that he can deduct the income tax.

Taxpayers who are not registered in Germany but who generate income here must inquire with the responsible tax office. The tax office will then request your tax ID from the BZSt. You cannot apply for this yourself at the BZSt.

Lost your tax identification number: what to do?

If you have forgotten your tax identification number or can no longer find the letter relating to it, simply take a look at your last tax assessment or your income tax certificate. The tax ID is also noted there.

If you have no more documents at all, you can contact the BZSt. You can find the link to it further above in the text. The BZSt will then provide you with your tax identification number in writing for reasons of data protection.

And what is the tax number? What do I need it for?

In addition to the tax identification number, there is currently also the tax number at your current tax office. Actually, with the introduction of the tax ID, the tax number should gradually be abolished. Actually, because the tax no. often still exist. It is not yet clear when it will finally be abolished.

Advantage of the tax identification number: In contrast to the tax number, it is unique and unchangeable - regardless of whether you move or change the tax office for other reasons.

This is an editorial text from the VLH editorial team. There is no advice on topics that are outside the tax advisory powers of an income tax aid association. Consulting services in specific individual cases can only be provided within the framework of the establishment of a membership and exclusively within the advisory authority according to ยง 4 No. 11 StBerG.