Maybe you already know the Steuernummer (tax number) – or rather the Steuer-Identifikationsnummer (tax identification number) – from your private life. You receive this for your entire life directly after birth. The tax identification number appears in tax returns and must be communicated to your employer so that it can be used in payroll accounting.
The tax number, on the other hand, is intended for corporate taxes. All self-employed persons, freelancers and companies are assigned the tax number by the tax office in order to determine and settle Umsatzsteuer (sales tax), Gewerbesteuer (trade tax), Körperschaftssteuer (corporate income tax), etc. If you change the location of your company and another tax office is responsible for you, the tax number must be reassigned accordingly.
Your tax number is important because you are required to state it a.o. on nearly all invoices you write. This is necessary to be able to conduct a valid Umsatzsteuervoranmeldung. However, you must also ensure that not only your own invoices are correct. Also the invoices you receive must contain the mandatory information – in particular, the tax number of the invoicing party – so that you can deduct the VAT shown on them as a Vorsteuer.
Before you receive the tax number, you must fill out the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung (tax registration questionnaire). After your registration at the trade office, you will usually automatically receive these documents from the tax office. An exception are freelancers, who do not have to register a business. As a freelancer, you should approach the tax office directly. But also as a company it is recommended to contact the responsible tax office directly after the business registration, as the offices are slow in their operations. Once you have completed the questionnaire and sent it to the tax office, you will receive your assigned tax number after a few weeks.
In addition to the tax number, the Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer (VAT identification number) can also be applied for at the same time. To do this, check the necessary box directly in the tax registration questionnaire. The VAT identification number is necessary if you do business as an entrepreneur or freelancer outside of Germany within the EU.
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