Worried about finding ways to obtain your tax ID number in Düsseldorf? Don’t be! It’s probably the simplest paperwork process you’re going to jump into when first arriving in Germany. It actually requires zero paperwork.
You do not have to do anything in order to obtain a German tax ID. Once you’ve registered your new residence in Germany, the tax office will mail you your ‘Steuer-ID’/tax ID number to your registered German address within 2-3 weeks. Just make sure to have your full name on the mailbox!
Why do you need a Tax ID number?
Your tax ID number (Identifikationsnummer) is given to you by the Federal Tax Office of Germany automatically the first time you register in any given German city. It is an 11-digit number that you will use in order to gain employment in Germany, this is why you need a German tax ID number. Even if you aren’t employed at the moment, you are required to file taxes, and any communication with the tax office will require a tax ID number. When babies are born in Germany, even they receive their first tax ID number upon registration.
As mentioned in our post on “How to Register in Düsseldorf / The Anmeldung,” it is important that you do not confuse your tax ID number with a tax number. I know they sound very similar, but here’s the difference:
- Tax ID number (Identifikationsnummer) = a number that everyone by law, in Germany, is required to have
- Tax number (Steuernummer) = a number that you obtain when you register as a freelancer or commercial business
When talking about your tax ID number, there are a few titles you might hear, just know that they are all referring to the same number: identification number (Identifikationsnummer), tax identification number (Steueridentifikationsnummer), tax ID (Steuer-ID).
What if you can’t wait 2-3 weeks for your tax ID number?
It’s life, and sometimes we’re in a rush… things happen, businesses get pushy and you need your tax ID number ASAP. Good news is… there is a way to obtain your tax ID number much quicker, the bad news is, you’re still going to have to wait at least 5 working days until you can obtain this number.
Once you’re registered in Germany, the registration office will send over the documents to the Finanzamt (tax office). The Finanzamt will be the ones to send you your new tax ID number in the mail. However, if you head over to their office in about 5 working days after you’ve officially registered in the city, you should be able to have staff at the office look up your number in their tax system database.
Note: In order to get your tax ID number from the Finanzamt, you must bring proper identification with you (a passport will do just fine).
But… where do you go to get your tax ID number?
There are 5 different Finanzamt offices around Düsseldorf, which means depending on your district, only one of these offices will be the right one for you.
You can check out the list of offices, their addresses and opening hours on Steuert|i|pps.
What if you lose your tax ID number?
Well, put it somewhere safe and you shouldn’t have that problem… but in the odd case that you do end up losing your tax ID number, it’s a simple process to get it back.
Simply head back to your local Finanzamt with your identification in hand and let them know that you’ve lost your tax ID number. They will be able to read it off to you right then and there.
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