Tax numbers in Germany and their purposes

In Germany there are are different tax numbers that serve different purposes.

    • Tax-ID number: The Steuer-ID (steuerliche Identifikationsnummer) is a 11 digit number. It is  assigned for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person in administrative proceedings. It is permanently valid and does not change, for example, if you move house, change your name or change your marital status. The Steuer-ID  is issued by the Federal Central Tax Office.
    • Tax number: The Steuernummer consists of 10 to 11 digits, which are usually separated by two slashes. It is issued by your local tax office as part of the tax registration process, for example if you are employed or register for self-employment with the tax office. It is possible to have more than one tax number, for example if you are employed and also work as a self-employed person.
    • VAT-ID number: The Umsatzsteuer-ID (Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer, USt-IdNr.) is a stand-alone number that businesses receive in addition to the tax number of their company. It begins with the EU country code, ‘DE’ for Germany, followed by up to 12 digits. When registering your self-employment with the local tax office by completing the tax registration questionnaire you can apply for the VAT-ID number in this form. The VAT-ID number is issued by the Federal Central Tax Office. Businesses who provide or receive goods and services within the EU single market require a VAT-ID number for processing.
    • Economic ID number: The new Wirtschafts-ID (Wirtschafts-Identifikationsnummer, W-IdNr.) will be issued by the Federal Central Tax Office. It is not available, yet. In the future, it will apply to economically active people and will primarily be used by the tax authorities. Economically active people are, for example, natural persons who pursue self-employment, legal persons or associations of persons. Tax authorities will thus be able to correctly assign economically active legal entities to the respective natural persons. The W-IdNr. will consist of the letters ‘DE’ and 9 digits and thus correspond in its form to the VAT-ID number. The Federal Central Tax Office will issue a W-IdNr. at the request of the competent tax authority and notify you without you having to submit an application.

Taxes and Accounting