NIT: Tax Identification Numbers :Who needs a tax identification number?

A woman sits at her dining room table with laptop and financial reports doing her monthly budget. She is smiling at the ease of use as she works on her smart phone banking app to do monthly finances, pay taxes and save money for the future.

If you have to carry out any type of legal or financial procedure in the country, you will need your tax identification number. Depending on your situation, that number will be called NIF or CIF, which in turn can be the same as your NIE or DNI. But let’s leave terminology for now. Let’s start with this article to fully understand when you will need your NIF , how to request it and what exactly is the difference between the CIF and the NIF .

Who needs a tax identification number?

Whatever your situation, if you carry out any type of economic or financial activity in Spain you will have to request a tax identification number .

This number is the specific identifier that will identify you to the Spanish Tax Agency and will allow this institution to control and monitor all operations that may or may not be associated with tax payments.

That is why it is so important to request one, and if you do not, you will not be able to carry out many specific procedures.

If you are a foreigner residing in Spain, your NIE will work in many cases also as your tax identification number (although the NIE is basically the general identification number to be identified for any type of procedure).

On the other hand, Spanish nationals have their basic ID, called DNI (national identity document), which works as NIF (tax identification for natural persons).

But if you are going to set up a company, then you will have to request an additional identification number called CIF.



What is the CIF?

The CIF is the tax identification number that identifies a company or legal person in Spain . Therefore, if you are going to create your company in Spanish territory, you will have to request this additional number, since your personal tax identification is not enough.

This CIF is made up of a letter plus eight digits, which add up to 9 alphanumeric figures :

  • The first digit indicates the type of organization or business structure (for example, A for public limited companies, or B for limited liability companies or SL). Each type of company has its own letter.
  • The next two digits correspond to the geographical region in which the company is located. In the case of Barcelona that number is 58, and 28 for Madrid.
  • Below is a unique 5-digit number.
  • Lastly, a check digit, which can be numeric or a letter. It is calculated with the previous characters.

Keep in mind that this CIF also corresponds to the VAT number (not like in many other countries where both are separate and different).

Finally, it is also important to keep in mind that the CIF number, although many people continue to use it and refer to it, has not legally existed since 2008, since it was merged with the NIF . This does not mean, of course, that the application procedure and requirements are different depending on whether it is a company or an individual.

Requirements to obtain the CIF

To obtain your CIF, basically you will have to present:

  • The NIF application model in writing (which must be signed by the company representative).
  • Identity document of said representative
  • Certificate of validity , in which all business data must appear (legal name of the company, legal address, nationality, date of registration, legal funds, representatives, etc.)

How to know the CIF of a company 

If you want to know the CIF of any company, it is quite simple.

You only have to enter this link , write the name of the company, click on search, and you will instantly find the corresponding CIF.

And what is the NIF?

It is very likely that you will not have to request a CIF.

In fact, if you are going to carry out any type of financial or legal procedure personally, you only need your NIF.

The NIF is the same as your Spanish identification number, which can have two different forms:

  • If you have Spanish nationality, it is your DNI, made up of 8 letters and a number.
  • But if you are a foreigner, your NIF will be the same as your NIE , made up of 8 numbers and a letter (which can only be X, Y, or Z).


How to obtain the NIF


You must present the following 3 documents:

  • Identification document , either your passport or the equivalent document to the Spanish DNI
  • Power of attorney if requested through a representative (this is the case of those foreigners who are not in Spain and cannot or do not want to travel to the country)
  • Proof of residence to verify the consular jurisdiction that corresponds to your particular case

Differences between the NIF and the DNI


While the DNI is the document that identifies Spanish citizens in general for any type of legal activity, the NIF is required for those operations that have a tax or customs implication .

In this sense, if the authorities need to identify you at a bureaucratic level, if you have to sign a document or travel abroad, then the DNI (like Spanish, if you are a foreigner the NIE) will be the requested identification document.

But if the procedure you carry out is of an economic nature and is related to your personal taxes, then you will use the NIF .


Where can I get my tax identification number in Spain?


Depending on your particular case, your NIF will be obtained in one place or another.

  • Request it directly in Spain , at the nearest immigration office
  • At the Spanish consulate or embassy  if you are still in your country of origin. This is usually the case for non-residents who have a property in Spanish territory, or for those who apply for their residence card (the NIE comes along with their visa).

However, as obtaining the NIE can be quite a complicated task, the government has created an exception for those who really need their NIF. There are certain situations in which you can request your NIF directly at the Spanish tax agency (without requesting your NIE at the Ministry of the Interior), although that NIF will be temporary:

  • If you are a Spaniard under 14 years of age.
  • If you are a Spanish citizen who resides abroad and does not have a valid DNI.
  • If you are a foreigner you cannot apply for a NIE number.
  • If you are a Spanish company (in this case the NIF will be permanent)

 Request legal assistance with your tax identification numbers

Now you know the main differences between the NIF, the CIF, the NIE and the DNI . But maybe you still have questions or need legal assistance to apply for your tax identification number (whether as a foreigner or not).

If so, send us an email through the following link so that one of our lawyers can contact you immediately .

We will guide you step by step and manage the entire procedure for you so you don’t have to worry about a thing