What is Persönliche Identifikationsnummer?

Have you received a letter from Bundeszentralamt für Steuern (Federal Central Tax Office) – Meldebehörde (Registration Authority) with a bunch of German words? Are you wondering what the hack is this? Is it something you should keep or just throw away and forget about it? It is maybe saying that you have won a lottery…

Well it is not. This letter gives you a number like everybody else in Germany. A person who registers himself with a valid German address for the first time will receive this letter immediately from their Meldebehörde (e.g. Meldebehörde Konstanz). It usually takes a couple of days of course but this letter is one of the very first official piece of paper you will receive.

The number that is attached to this letter was introduced in 2007 and will be used by the person for lifetime. It doesn’t change when you get married or when you moved to another address or even when you stop leaving in Germany for a while and come back again. The number consists of 11 random digits.

Why is it important?

  1. Let’s say you get a job and you will start really soon. You will have to give this number to your employer so that they can get your taxes out of your salary and get your tax class. We have explained tax classes here.
  2. You will have to give this number when you want to open a German Bank Account. Most of the time banks will find out this number even if you don’t have it with you but it’s good to have it.
  3. You will need to use this number while you make a tax declaration. This is something else we will cover later.

What happens if you don’t get this letter or you lost it?

  1. There is no way you won’t receive this letter. If you register yourself for the first in Germany, you will become this number %100.
  2. In case you haven’t got or you lose it: You have to find out which tax office-revenue service office is responsible for your address and get there to request a new one. These offices are called as Finanzamt. Here is the database for finding out which Finanzamt you are belonged to. You just have to write your German postal code and you will see your Finanzamt with its address, opening hours etc.

How does this letter look like?

It looks like this:

Is there more information available?

Of course. There is an official website that is explaining what is this number. Here is the link if you are interested. This information is both available in English and German.

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