Steuer-ID, Steuernummer and Umsatzsteuer-ID – which is which?

  • The “Steuer-ID” or “steuerliche Identifikationsnummer” (tax identification number, IdNo) consists of 11 digits, is specific to an individual, retains life-long validity, and is issued by the Federal Central Tax Office. It is essential for registering self-employment at the tax office.
  • The “Steuernummer” (tax number) consists of 10 or 11 digits, usually divided by two forward slashes. It is issued by your local tax office when registering for taxation, for example if you are an employee or starting self-employment work . It is possible to have multiple tax numbers, for example if you are employed but also have a self-employed sideline job.
  • The “Umsatzsteuer-ID” (VAT identification number, abbreviated as USt-IdNr.) starts with the EU country abbreviation, DE for Germany, followed by up to twelve digits. Entrepreneurs are given this number in addition to the above-mentioned tax number for their work as a tradesperson or freelancer. It is issued by the Federal Central Tax Office. Entrepreneurs can apply for the VAT identification number via the “Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung” form (“Tax Assessment Questionnaire”). It is important for business transactions between companies in different EU countries.