Work without Tax ID/Anmeldung


I'm soon starting work in Germany, but for various reasons I probably can't get an Anmeldung, and therefore not a Tax ID.

I have confirmed that it is possible to work without a Tax ID, but I will automatically be taxed at class 6 (the highest class), paying about 10-20% more than I would normally (tax class 1).

Question: Can I get the difference back when filing the tax return at the end of the year?

(there's no need to remind me that I really should just get an anmeldung)

Taxes in Germany are a very complicated topic and only a professional tax adviser can give you a definitive answer.
I have never heard of (and cannot imagine) that working in the situation you describe is possible and legal:
- Once you move to Germany, you MUST register your residence within a week. Not doing so is illegal.
- You can only work in Germany if you live here, precisely which is shown by your registration. (The only exceptions: You are EU citizen or live in a limited range of near-border locations in neighbouring countries. But they also need to get a tax ID first.)
- An employer MUST deduct taxes and social contributions from your salary (before paying the remainder to you) and transfer the deduced amounts to the tax and social security authorities - of course together with your tax ID and social security number, otherwise the payments are untraceable.
- I very much doubt that they can then pay out the remainder to someone who obviously does not fulfill the requirements. (And they could only do so in cash, because you also cannot open a bank account without registered address.)
- You also cannot have (compulsory) German health insurance, which also the employer must arrange for you if you didn't do it yourself.
Please report here if you find a way around all these hurdles. But I think it is a harebrain scheme that will cause nothing but problems (and cost you money that you will definitely not get back!)

I just noticed that, according to your profile, you are Danish and therefore EU citizen.
In that case you can work in Germany without living here - but you do need a tax ID, which you can apply for at the Ministry of Finance:
No paid work is legally possible without tax ID!

Many thanks for your reply. That link looks very useful. I am indeed an EU citizen.

Just to confirm that one can work without a Tax ID:

It's even possible to have a Tax ID and refuse to let the employer use it (pretty stupid though as it will increase your taxes).

Sorry, but the link does not say that it is legal to work without tax ID. (It isn't!)
It says "If the employee does not know his tax ID, he has to get it from the tax authority. Without tax ID, no electronic processing of tax is possible and deductions will have to be calculated with tax class VI."
By now, electronic tax processing is mandatory - and does not work without tax ID.
I don't understand why you insist on making things diffcult. Just get the tax ID and you will be fine!

Just chiming in as I'm currently in a similar situation: for various reasons, you won't always be able to get your tax ID in time. I moved to Berlin, had a work contract secured before I even came, and even looking for a flat months ahead of time I only managed to find a flat (with Anmeldung) to move in the same day I started working.

Once I had that, the landlord still had to make the actual contract, and took his sweet, sweet time doing so. After that, he still took a few days to provide me with the document necessary to state that he was indeed renting to me. And once all of that had been done, I still had to find an empty slot for an Anmeldung registration, which was on October 26th, so very obviously not in time for me to get my Tax ID back by the time my employer paid me my first salary.

I've heard similar stories, and most people in the same situation as me have told me that you will indeed get taxed at the maximum rate, but that you could get your money back, provided that you could justify not having been able to get your Tax ID in due time (that is usually done by showing that you at least booked your appointment in the 14 days following you moving in your new flat, even if the date itself is way later). However, I don't know the specifics of this process, so I can't be of much more help (which I think isn't needed anymore anyway).

But if someone tells you they can't get a Tax ID, they're probably not doing it for fun, they most likely just can't get it in time, which I suspect is what happened here.

Beppi you are so judgmental. I hope not every German is like you.

i do struggle to find an appartment in HH too because the agency didn't want my renter to sublease. I just heard it now at the first wee of my contract and I have to find something ASAP.

So Beppi try to learn empathy first.

@Julie Sarah86 Sorry if the regulations in Germany lack empathy - above I described just the formalistic truth and not my personal opinion. (I could rant about heartless buerocrats for hours but that would not change anything. Thus I decided to stick to the facts.)

The housing shortage in many German cities is another big but unrelated problem. Legal requirements must still be met - there is unfortunately no way around that. In theory, you can register wherever you stay (even in a hotel, or temporarily at a friend's place), but it may be difficult to get the needed signature in such cases.

I do not understand your statement "the agency didn't want my renter to sublease". Maybe you can explain what you mean and how we could help you?

Beppi you are so judgmental. I hope not every German is like you.
i do struggle to find an appartment in HH too because the agency didn't want my renter to sublease. I just heard it now at the first wee of my contract and I have to find something ASAP.

So Beppi try to learn empathy first.
-@Julie Sarah86

Inappropriate comments!

Not fair to claim a lack of empathy just because one points out factual rules. Rules are rules whether one likes them or not. Beppi is not making them. We can advise by saying how things work - or just tell people what they want to hear despite being incorrect... We know that many situations are complex and the best way to help is making clear how the rules work, not deny them.

But to the subject matter. It is correct that it can take some time before one gets their Tax ID number. What is important for an employer is to know that the employee is legal to work in Germany and has applied for their number. It should then be noted once it is assigned. What doesn't work are rationalizations that one somehow can work in Germany without such a number. And yes, such incorrect claims have been made on this site.


I find all your comments interesting. We live in Germany (last 3 years),  but get all our Income (pensions, anuities, part-time work) from the uk and are still paying taxxes there.

We need to get our German tax status sorted. Can anyone help with advice on where to turn? Please asap!!!!!!

Kind regards HS

@hannesampson You should probably engage a good tax consultant (with experience in international matters). Ask around locally, check on the web or, as a last resort, search the official list of all registered tax consultants (available in German only):

You will definitely have to pay tax (and social security dues) in Germany on most or all of your world income. Whether you will be double-taxed in the other country remains to be seen, but is certainly made more complicated by Brexit. Sometimes, tax paid elsewhere can be offset from German taxes. Only a good tax consultant can sort this out for you - and also advise on ways to prevent being penalized for not declaring earlier (which can be a criminal offense!).