Expats, Moving to Germany

German Tax ID | An Expat’s Guide to Obtaining Steuer-IdNr

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How do apply for Tax ID number in Germany? Why is it important? Read the article to know more. Let’s connect with Ocyan

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Paying taxes is a worldwide phenomenon – there is no escaping it! While people generally try to avoid dealing with tax authorities in a foreign country, paying taxes in Germany is simple and straightforward. 

As an expat in Germany, you will still have to pay taxes, especially if you have a German source of income. Like most western countries, your tax is calculated throughout the year, with your employer usually deducting tax from your payroll. You will need to have a Tax ID once you start living in Germany.

What is the Tax ID?

Every expat looking to work in Germany is assigned a Tax Identification Number or IdNr, also known as Steueridentifikationsnummer, Steuer-ID or Steuer-IdNr

The IdNr is an 11 digit number (in the format of xx xxx xxx xxx) assigned by the Federal Central Tax Office(BZSt). This is similar to the Social Security number of the US or the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) in the UK. 

The Tax ID should not be confused with the Tax Number (Steuernummer) or the VAT Number (Umsatzsteuer-IdNr). While the Tax ID is allocated for life, the Steuernummer can change if you move to a different Finanzamt (tax office) area. The Finanzamt is responsible for collecting taxes in Germany.

The German Tax ID is not reported or displayed on official documents of identification. Foreigners do not need to apply separately for their IdNr, it can be found via –

  • Your Income Tax Assessment
  • Your Employment Tax Statement
  • Informational letter sent to your registered mailing address from the BZSt (Usually 2-4 weeks after registering your address)

You can get more information on your Tax ID from the official website here

Why is it important?

The (Steuer-ID, IdNr) is important for paying taxes and receiving government benefits and health care. Without it, you will most likely be taxed at the highest rate possible. 

When starting a new job, you need to furnish your Tax ID to your employer. You might not be able to open a bank account in Germany if you do not provide this taxation number or residence proof.

How do you apply for a Tax ID in Germany?

Every foreigner who plans to work in Germany for more than 3 months, needs to register themselves at the Bürgeramt or the citizen’s office within 14 days of arrival. The Tax ID is automatically issued to you once you register, and is mailed to you at your registered address within 2-4 weeks. 

Every city typically has a Bürgeramt, while large cities can have many more. A list of Bürgeramt locations can be found here. Remember, a Tax ID is only issued once. If you lose yours, you can approach the local tax office along with your passport or other approved identification documents.

You can reach out to the TIN national contact point by sending an email to:

The Finanzamt offers free advice and help at some of their physical offices. You can also download a tool called ELSTER that allows you to submit tax returns via the internet. However, this tool is currently only available in the German language. 

Hello from Ocyan

With Ocyan, you have access to all the information you need to apply for your Tax ID. This is essential for you as an expat to pay your taxes in Germany. 

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If you’re considering moving, hiring a financial relocation specialist can make your work easier and more cost-effective. Ocyan offers a financial relocation package for expats. We lead you effortlessly through the processes of getting your bank account, insurances, mobile contract, and other services in just a few clicks. Subscribe for free at Ocyan and benefit from free quotes and tailored solutions for everyone.

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