Tax Identification Number – Tax Number – VAT ID
In Germany you receive different numbers for different purposes in relation to the German tax system. But what’s the difference between those numbers?
Tax Identification Number
When registering yourself in Germany you will receive a personal tax ID number (Steueridentifikationsnummer). You automatically receive this ID in a letter about one to two weeks after registering your residence. Your personal tax number will never change.
When you have lived in Germany before and lost your personal tax ID number you can fill out this form on the website at the central tax office (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern). They will send you a letter with your valid tax ID number.
When you file your German income tax return for the first time or when registering yourself as freelancer you will receive a tax number from the tax authorities. This tax number can change for example when you move in another city, when marrying or when your personal clerk at the tax authorities will change.
The Value Added Tax ID (VAT ID) is used in the EU to clearly identify a company or entity which is liable for Value Added Tax.
The VAT ID is only relevant for self-employed people. You would need the VAT ID when delivering goods to other EU companies or providing services to other EU companies.