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Blog post from February 2nd, 2021

Apply for a tax number: All important information at a glance


The tax number is required for numerous applications and processes in Germany. Many people don't know what's behind it, whether they have this number or where to find it. We explain how to make one Apply for tax number can, who needs it and what needs to be taken into account.

Table of contents:

  1. What is the tax number?
  2. What is the difference between the tax number and the tax identification number?
  3. How can I apply for a tax number?
  4. How can I find out the tax number?
  5. Who needs a tax number?
  6. The tax number for traders
  7. Important information for the self-employed

What is the tax number?

The Tax number is a number that clearly identifies all people and companies in Germany. As a rule, it must be stated on all important documents such as tax returns or invoices.

In this way, the tax office can assign different processes to a specific person and avoid confusion. A tax number is essential, especially for self-employed people, freelancers and companies. Among other things, it is needed to issue invoices.

What is the difference between the tax number and the tax identification number?

The tax number can change, for example when you move, get married or start a business. The tax identification number, however, remains the same. In Germany, every private person carries this throughout their entire life.

Apply for tax number

It was introduced in 2007 and has since been awarded immediately after birth.

However, a German residence is required for the assignment. If, for example, this is canceled for a stay abroad, it will be decommissioned.

If a private individual moves back to Germany, he will be assigned the same number. Getting married or changing the responsible tax office has no effect.

In this way, each person only receives a single tax ID, which enables the authorities to make precise allocations. The number is made up of eleven digits and is therefore shorter than the tax number.

The tax ID will be deleted when it is no longer needed. This is the case no later than twenty years after the death of the owner.

How can I apply for a tax number?

The tax number can be applied for online using a form from the responsible tax office. Traders usually do not have to actively request it - regardless of whether they are self-employed or freelancers: After registering a business, the tax office automatically informs the owner of the tax number.

If the tax number was applied for online, the tax office will send the applicant a questionnaire by post. In this “tax registration questionnaire” it must be stated which sales and profit are expected.

After the completed questionnaire has been sent, it usually takes two to six weeks for the tax office to issue the tax number. It is important that the questionnaire is completely filled out and, above all, signed. If the signature is forgotten, this will only delay the process unnecessarily.

Alternatively, the tax number can be sent via magpie apply online. 

How can I find out the tax number?

There are different ways to determine the tax number: The tax number is, among other things, located at the top right of the income tax notice. In Germany it consists of thirteen digits, the first four of which identify the Federal Tax Office.

If the income tax assessment is not available, the number can also be obtained by calling the tax office. Finally, a tax return can be prepared without providing a tax number. In this case, the Federal Tax Office assigns a number to the author of the declaration when it is received.

Who needs a tax number?

Everyone who wants to create a tax return, an invoice or a similar document needs a tax number. Furthermore, every employer must know the tax numbers of their employees, as this is the only way they can pay the wage tax for their employees.

The tax number is therefore in the upper right corner of the income tax card. An exception here are jobs in which no more than 450 euros are earned: no tax is payable on this salary, which is why no tax number is required.

Self-employed people, on the other hand, usually have to pay taxes and therefore need this number. Banks often ask for the account holder’s tax number. This happens, for example, in cases where they have to provide information about compliance with the limits of exemption orders.

Parents still need the tax numbers for themselves and their children in order to be able to apply for child benefit. This is to prevent double payouts from occurring.

The tax number for traders

Start-ups should apply for a tax number before starting their business. This is done at the responsible tax office. Which tax office this is depends on where the company is based.

Here, too, a questionnaire must be filled out before receiving the number, which should provide information about the scope of the planned business and the expected profit.

This information raises many questions, especially for new business founders. False information can have consequences both in one direction and the other.

It is therefore worth consulting a tax advisor and going through and checking the individual information step by step.

Once a tax number has been assigned, it must be stated on all invoices issued. However, when operating internationally within the EU, the trader also receives a VAT identification number, which is issued by the Federal Central Tax Office if it is applied for.

In this way, clear allocation is also made possible in other European countries and processes are simplified. The VAT ID can be stated on invoices as an alternative to the tax number.

Important information for the self-employed

The Federal Tax Office requires that private and business finances be clearly separated. This makes it easier to get a quick overview of all income, expenses and sales. This also leads to fewer questions and the need for clarification.

Banks refer holders of a free checking account for private use to the use of a business account, for which a fee must be paid for use. This means that, in the best case scenario, start-ups get a business account before starting their business.

In this way, finances can be kept strictly separate from the start, which ultimately saves the self-employed person a lot of work Saves taxes.


Apply now with GetMyInvoices your tax number easily online and bring more flexibility to your self-employment.

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