Tax identification number: differences among NIF, NIE, CIF
If you pay taxes in Spain, you will become familiar with ta identification numbers. When you go to a tax office or social security office, you might be asked about different numbers. In order for you to not get lost, this article is a guide to identify different numbers such as NIF, NIE, CIF, and the social security number.
1. Spanish tax numbers: NIF, NIE, CIF
NIF (Número de identificación fiscal):
Tax ID for Spanish citizens
It consists of 8 numbers and 1 or 2 letters
NIE (Número de identificación de extranjero):
Tax ID for foreigners and non-citizens, the usual tax number for foreigners living in Spain
Non-resident foreigners with Spanish property or with legal or financial transactions in Spain are also included
In this case, the NIE number is the same as the NIE number you get for your legal residency
This is also the VAT number of the Spanish company
It consists of 8 numbers and a letter. The letter usually refers to the company type (eg. Ltd company)
You might also know thesocial security number, called as número de seguridad social or número de afiliación in Spanish. This is not a tax identification number, but it's related to your social security contributions and the benefits you can receive from the social security system.
2. Who needs a Spanish tax number?
The short answer for this question is: everyone or every entity that pays tax in Spain, no matter if you are an employee or a freelancer, a worker or a company. The tax identification number for the Spanish tax agency to calculate and supervise the taxes required to be paid and ensure the normal functionality of the society.
If you are a foreigner and will stay for more than three months, you will need a Spanish visa (eg. student visa, non-lucrative visa, or investor visa) and an NIE number to guarantee your legal stay. The NIE number is the only effective identification number for you to stay legally in Spain. When applying for Spanish visas, visa insurance is a compulsory requirement for many types of visas.
3. How to apply for a Spanish tax number?
As a foreigner, you can apply for a tax number in the following ways: