tax identification number (2024)

How do I get my IdNo

Have you not received your IdNo yet or cannot find it?


The Elster Online Portal contains information about the electronic wage tax deduction information (ELStAM).

You can usually find your IdNo in the following documents:

  • in your income tax assessment,
  • on your employment tax statement or
  • in the informational letter from the federal central tax office. This letter was sent to you by your tax office in October or November 2011 to inform you about the stored electronic wage tax deduction information (ELStAM).

If you cannot find your IdNo in the documents mentioned above, you have the option of requesting it using the Federal Central Tax Office input form or by letter. Please understand that the IdNo can only be communicated to you through the mail for data protection reasons. The IdNo can be sent to an address that does not correspond to your registered address only with your written letter of authority (by letter and with a copy of a valid personal ID).

You can also submit your income tax return to your tax office without an IdNo. Your tax office is aware of this fact.

New notification of your tax identification number

The IdNo is permanently assigned to a person. The Federal Central Tax Office can only notify you of the IdNo you were already assigned.



Goal of the introduction

The IdNo makes tax administration services - such as the electronically provided, pre-filled tax return form or the automated processing of electronic documents - possible. The federal government's goal is to make the taxation process more citizen-friendly and to modernize to save money.

To do this, new electronic communication and assessment procedures need to be created or existing ones improved. The IdNo remains valid permanently. Regardless of moves, name changes or even restructuring in tax offices, tax data can always be allocated to the right person.

With the current tax number systems, taxpayers in Germany cannot be clearly identified. At present, for example, a minor deviation in the spelling of a name ("Ullrich" instead of "Ulrich") can make unambiguous identification of the person impossible.

Some tax administration intra-group services, such as providing taxpayers with a pre-filled electronic tax return, are only possible because, thanks to the IdNo, tax administration employees are now able to allocate tax data from anywhere in Germany to exactly one person.

With the IdNo, it will also be possible to correctly assign the data that forms the basis of assessment to a specific person even across federal state boundaries. Erroneous use of this data for another person is no longer possible.

It is intended that the IdNo will replace the current tax number for income tax after a longer transitional period.

Allocation of the IdNo

Informational self-determination?

In its judgment dated 18 January 2012 - II R 49/10 - (Federal Tax Gazette, 2012, Part II, p. 168), the Federal Fiscal Court ruled that allocation of the IdNo and the associated storage of data is compatible with the right to informational self-determination and other constitutional law.

One IdNo will be assigned to every person who is registered with a primary place of residence or sole residence in a civil registry in Germany. People who are not registered, but pay taxes in Germany, will also receive an IdNo. The individual taxation laws regulate who must pay taxes.

Under the Income Tax Act, natural persons who have a registered domicile or habitual abode in Germany are subject to income tax at birth.

Although these taxpayers are generally not yet liable to pay any income tax, these situations may nevertheless occur (e.g. in the case of investment income that children earn from inherited assets capital). Without an IdNo these cases would be difficult to determine, since the tax offices would have no information about the person liable for payment of the tax due to the lack of tax collection.

In addition, a child's IdNo is required to identify them in the tax process, such as for payment of a child benefit, in exemption orders or for the payment of benefits from the German pension fund (orphan's pension).

The IdNo is therefore a sector-specific regulatory feature that is being introduced to aid the tax authorities in the fulfillment of their duties. It is not a personal identification number.

Data content

The data required for identifying a taxpayer and the tax authorities responsible for your tax matters is stored by the Federal Central Tax Office.

Section 139b (3) of the Fiscal Code contains an exhaustive list of the data belonging to a natural person that is saved by the Federal Central Tax Office:

  1. Employer Identification Number
  2. Last name
  3. Previous last names
  4. First name
  5. Doctoral degree
  6. Date and place of birth
  7. Gender
  8. Current or last known address
  9. Tax authorities responsible for your tax matters
  10. Bans on disclosing information (Auskunftssperren) pursuant to the Federal Registration Act
  11. Date of death
  12. Move-in and move-out date

For the purpose of providing automatically retrievable wage tax deduction information for the employer, the Federal Central Tax Office stores additional data for each taxpayer in accordance with Section 39e(2) of the Income Tax Act (EStG). This includes data on

  • Religious affiliation
  • Marital status (in the case of married or partnered taxpayers, the spouse/partner's IdNo is added)
  • The IdNos of any minor children, provided they are registered in the same municipality as the taxpayer.

Sample notification letter (English) PDF, 445KB, File meet accessibility standards

Sample notification letter (German)PDF, 25KB, File meet accessibility standardsSample notification letter (German)

Data access

Use of the IdNo is limited to financial authorities for data protection reasons. Therefore, only the tax authorities are allowed to collect and use the personal data (Section 139b(2) of the Fiscal Code.

The IdNo is only communicated to other entities, such as health insurance companies, that are required by law to submit data for tax purposes to the financial authorities. These entities do not receive any other data about a person.

The data stored at the Federal Central Tax Office are subject to a strict purpose limitation, which, in accordance with the law (Section 139b(4) and (5) of the Fiscal Code), does not permit any other use of the data.

Improper use of the identification number is an administrative offense in accordance with Section 139a of the Fiscal Code, and an administrative fine of up to 10,000 euros may be imposed.

Storage period

The data will remain in the database until it is no longer needed to fulfill the statutory duties of the tax authorities; however, the data will be deleted no later than 20 years after the end of the calendar year in which the taxpayer died.

The data stored by the Federal Central Tax Office is master data that is not only relevant for a tax period or taxable date. A clear identification of a taxpayer is required as long as the claims from the tax debt have not yet expired (Section 47 of the Fiscal Code).

Deleting the data on a specific date once the obligation to pay taxes has ended is not possible, since the Fiscal Code's statutory periods of limitation differ in each individual tax case and from tax type to tax type.

Among other things, it must be taken into account that the four-year time-limit for assessment is five years in the case of unlawful curtailment of taxes through negligence and ten years in the case of tax fraud tax evasion (Section 169(2) of the Fiscal Code).

In addition, the deadline can be postponed by various expirations and suspensions (Sections 170 and 171 of the Fiscal Code). The data may be required even years after a taxpayer's death to fulfill the tasks incumbent on the tax authorities, since the taxation process must continue and be completed by the heirs or universal successors.

Tax identification information in other EU member states

The use of a common identifier for tax purposes is already widespread in the EU member states and also complies with OECD recommendations for the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). For example, according to a recent study by the OECD, Germany is one of the few states that has not yet used a number to identify taxpayers in the area of tax administration.

As a result, by introducing the IdNo, Germany is narrowing the gap to the standard used by the other industrial nations. The tax IdNo is a significant improvement in performing administrative duties in the international exchange of information in tax matters.

Without the use of a TIN, identification of people is in principle possible, but it is associated with considerable additional expense because name, address, date and place of birth must also be transmitted.

Germany may refrain in the future from providing this information, which until now has always had to be agreed on in international conventions.


Informational brochurePDF, 397KB, File meet accessibility standardsInformational brochure from the Federal Ministry of FinanceNationwide identification number for taxpayersProcedure as per Section 139b of the Fiscal Code
General rulingPDF, 38KB, File meet accessibility standardsGeneral ruling of the Federal Ministry of Finance dated 22 July 2013
Monthly report of the Federal Ministry of FinancePDF, 331KB, File meet accessibility standardsIntroducing the identification number for taxpayers
tax identification number (2024)


What do I put for tax identification number? ›

Taxpayer Identification Numbers
  • Social Security number "SSN"
  • Employer Identification Number "EIN"
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number "ITIN"
  • Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions "ATIN"
  • Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number "PTIN"
May 24, 2023

Can I use SSN instead of TIN? ›

When calling on your business account, use your Tax Identification number (TIN) in place of your Social Security number (SSN) as verification. The only exception is if you're a sole proprietor. In this case, please use your SSN instead.

Is my SSN my tax ID number? ›

A Social Security number (SSN) is a taxpayer identification number issued by the Social Security Administration. Individuals who are employed in the U.S. must have a Social Security number to file an income tax return.

Can I verify a tax ID number? ›

You can look up another business's EIN using the SEC's Edgar system, as long as the business is a public company. To verify a charitable organization's EIN, you could check the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool. You may also be able to hire an online company to do the research on your behalf.

How many digits is a tax ID number? ›

A1: A Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is a nine-digit number, which is either an Employer Identification Number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a Social Security number assigned by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Is TIN the same as EIN? ›

EIN's are also known as federal tax identification numbers which are used on Form 1041: U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts to report income from estates and trusts. The main thing that separates an EIN from a TIN is that an EIN is for a business while a TIN is for an individual.

Do I need an EIN or TIN? ›

A TIN—whether an SSN, EIN, or ITIN—must be furnished when you file your taxes or when claiming certain benefits. While you can use a TIN in various ways, an EIN must be used solely for filing business taxes by U.S. residents. When you compare a TIN number vs EIN, the EIN, again, is a type of TIN used for reporting tax.

What is the difference between SSN and tax ID? ›

A social security number (SSN) is a tax code used by an individual, while a tax ID is a nine-digit tax code for a business entity. For a business entity, a tax ID is usually called an EIN.

What does tax ID type SSN mean? ›

The social security number (SSN) is the most common tax identification number. SSNs are issued to individuals—U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and certain temporary residents—by the Social Security Administration. These numbers are formatted as XXX-XX-XXXX.

Can you be denied a tax ID number? ›

What is an EIN Application rejection? If your entity name is not unique and the IRS finds one that is similar, you may be denied an EIN.

What is a TIN verification? ›

TIN verification is a type of verification check that confirms that the name and TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) provided in an inquiry match records found within the Internal Revenue Service database.

How does the IRS verify your ID? ›

If you had trouble verifying your identity online through and haven't verified your identity and tax return data yet, we may have sent a letter offering an in-person verification option. This option uses an online process through and an in-person process at a local UPS store to verify your identity.

How can I get my EIN number without SSN? ›

How do I get an EIN without an SSN? If you don't have an SSN, you'll need to use Form SS-4 to obtain an employer identification number from the IRS. You'll fill-out basic information about your business—name, entity type, location—then mail the completed document to the IRS.

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