NIF and CIF in Spain stand for Spanish Tax Identification Numbers

What’s on this page?

  1. NIF (Número de Identificación Fiscal)
  2. CIF (Código de Identificación Fiscal)
  3. The difference between NIF and CIF
  4. Meaning and use of identifiers in Spain
  5. Process of applying for NIF and CIF
  6. Tax reporting

Every person throughout their life carries out many social, legal, economic and financial transactions, most of them related to the payment of taxes. The Spanish government provides a certain procedure for registering taxpayers: both individuals and legal entities. For this purpose, the identifiers DNI, NIE, NIF, CIF exist in Spain and are extremely necessary for carrying out various actions in the country.


But not all actions are related to paying taxes, since many of them are not financial in nature. DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad) is an identity document of a Spanish citizen, NIE (Numero de Identificacion de Extranjero) is a personal identification number of a foreigner received from the migration authorities. They are required for everyone who lives in Spain and are sufficient for such procedures as, for example, access to health and social services, obtaining a driver's license, opening an account in a Spanish bank, paying utility bills, etc.

However, everyone who is employed, plans to start a company, or conducts real estate transactions is required to request a taxpayer identification number. Using such a number, the Spanish Tax Agency will be able to track all the actions of a person performing certain financial transactions in order to control the payment of taxes. Therefore, you need to understand the essence of each of the identifiers.

NIF (Número de Identificación Fiscal)

What is NIF in Spain? This is an identifier that an individual or entrepreneur needs in order to carry out any transaction related to the payment of taxes. The taxpayer is required to indicate his NIF in every document, be it a declaration or a written communication, which is submitted to the tax authority. NIF number (Spain) consists of a number of characters:

  NIF Symbols
for Spanish citizens equals DNI consists of 8 letters and numbers
for foreigners equals NIE consists of 8 numbers and one of the letters X, Y or Z

There are different NIF formats, which depend on the status of the individual:

NIF format For whom Characteristic
NIF "L" for Spanish citizens who live abroad and do not have a DNI It is temporary and exists for cases where a Spanish citizen carries out a transaction requiring taxes to be paid in Spain
NIF "M" for foreigners who have not yet received their NIE Valid until the foreigner receives a NIE if he carries out operations with subsequent payment of taxes
NIF "N" for foreign legal entities - non-residents of Spain When carrying out transactions with subsequent payment of taxes
NIF for foreign citizens with NIE When carrying out transactions which include paying taxes, must be registered with the Spanish tax authorities

CIF (Código de Identificación Fiscal)

Next, let us find out what CIF is in Spain. This identifier was assigned to a legal entity operating in Spain and obligated to pay taxes. The use of a personal DNI or NIE in this case is prohibited. The CIF number (Spain) consists of nine characters.

Sign Meaning Example
First letter Organizational and legal form of a legal entity A – joint stock company
B – limited liability company
C – partnership
D – limited partnership, etc.
Next two digits Code of the Spanish Autonomous Community Madrid – 28, 78, 79, 80…
Barcelona – 08.58, 59, 60…
Valencia - 46, 96, 97, 98, etc.
Next five digits Company registration number  
Last number or letter Verification sign  

You can find out the CIF of any Spanish company using the link

The difference between NIF and CIF

Until 2008, all legal entities operating in Spain had to obtain a CIF ID. Later, CIF was abolished, and today all individuals and legal entities carrying out any activity with subsequent taxation use only NIF as a tax identifier, which in turn is identical to DNI for Spanish citizens, and NIE for foreigners.

NIF Spain

Meaning and use of identifiers in Spain

Let us look at options for using Spanish tax IDs for individuals and legal entities.

NIF for individuals:

A Spanish citizen, who does not have a DNI, makes a transaction with tax implications The tax identifier DNI=NIF must be assigned: for those living in Spain – NIF “K”, for those living abroad – NIF “L”
A Spanish resident abroad carries out a transaction with tax consequences in Spain Obtaining NIF “L” is mandatory
A Spanish citizen under 14 years of age performs a tax transaction You can request the assignment of DNI or NIF “K” from the tax authority
A foreigner does not have a NIE and performs a tax transaction In the event that a foreigner temporarily does not have a NIE, but is required to receive it, or is not required to receive a NIE, the tax authority should be contacted for the assignment of NIF “M”
A foreigner who is a representative of a foreign legal entity who carries out a transaction in Spain with tax consequences Obtaining NIF "M" by submitting Form 030 to the Spanish tax authority or the Spanish embassy or consulate abroad
Do persons with NIF “K”, NIF “L”, NIF “M”, after assignment of DNI or NIE need to notify the tax authority about this? It is imperative to notify not only the tax authority, but also all individuals and legal entities associated with you with tax obligations within two months, so that they also change your tax number. The old ID will be valid until notification of receipt of the new one
Will an individual be fined if they complete a tax transaction and fail to provide their tax ID? This will be considered a minor offense with a fine of € 150.

NIF for legal entities:

In what cases can NIF change for legal entities? In case of change of legal form or citizenship
Is it possible to request a new NIF for a company that has changed its legal form before registering it with the Spanish Companies Registry? It is possible if registration in the Register is postponed until a new NIF is assigned to the company
When a legal entity must obtain a tax ID? Before making any sale or supply of goods or services, hiring personnel or making any payments
Is it necessary to inform the tax authority about changes in the composition of partners or participants of a legal entity? This must be reported before receiving the final ID. Companies without registration of a legal entity must also report this.
Do you need a tax ID when renting a property together? Yes, you need NIF "E"
If a team of several people without registering a legal entity signed a joint agreement to conduct economic transactions with a profit - what tax ID should be obtained? You need to get the NIF ID "J". To do this, you must provide the tax authority with an agreement indicating the share of participation of each team member, type of activity and other data

Process of applying for NIF and CIF

To obtain NIF (Spain), you need to submit the following documents:

  • ID card or passport;
  • a document confirming your place of residence;
  • if you are not in Spain and a trusted person acts on your behalf - a power of attorney to obtain it.

Where you can get NIF:

Recipient Where you can get NIF Note
Spanish citizen holding DNI By appointment at the nearest police station  
Foreigner wishing to obtain a NIE At the Spanish Immigration Service NIE = NIF
At the Spanish embassy (consulate) in the foreigner’s country of residence

In certain cases, individuals may apply for a temporary NIF, for example:

  • Spanish citizens under 14 years of age;
  • Spanish citizens who do not have a DNI and live in other countries;
  • foreigners who cannot, due to certain circumstances, obtain a NIE, etc.

To obtain CIF you must provide the tax authority with the following documents:

  • document establishing the company;
  • copies of identification documents of the owner or co-founders of the company;
  • documents confirming the assignment of DNI or NIE to the owner or co-founders of the company;
  • documents confirming the legal name of the company, registration dates, legal addresses and other attributes;
  • a CIF application signed by a duly authorized representative of the company.

Tax reporting

It is logical that the main action of an individual or legal entity when conducting economic transactions in Spain should not be obtaining a tax ID, but the timely and full payment of all taxes and fees due. Here it is important to decide who, where and within what time frame should submit tax reports and tax returns. Who should file a tax return?

  • Residents during their first year of stay in Spain, regardless of income level;
  • residents living in Spain for more than six months (183 days);
  • workers whose income is more than € 22,000 per year from one employer;
  • workers whose income is more than € 15,000 per year from several employers;
  • self-employed workers whose income is more than € 22,000 per year;
  • everyone receiving more than € 1600 per year as income from interest, dividends, capital gains;
  • all property owners receiving more than € 1000 per year in rental income;
  • everyone who is not mentioned above and has any income or economic interest in Spain.

Spanish Tax Administration Agency

Those receiving rental income must file a tax return quarterly, as opposed to cases when filing an annual return. Non-residents report only income earned in Spain. Residents must report receipt of all types of income not only in Spain, but also abroad. Today, Spain has concluded agreements with many countries on the inadmissibility of double taxation for residents. The deadline for filing tax returns and paying taxes is June 30th of the year following the reporting year.

In case of non-payment, incomplete or late payment of taxes, Spain has a strict system of imposing fines and penalties. Tax returns must be submitted to the Spanish Tax Administration Agency (IRPF).

All legal entities operating in Spain, in accordance with the Commercial Code and other regulations, must submit annual financial statements electronically or on paper within seven months after the end of the reporting year to the Commercial Register. For late filing of financial statements by a legal entity, a fine of up to €60,000 is imposed.

In conclusion, in Spain it is possible and necessary to work and earn money. All conditions have been created for this, whether you are an employee, an entrepreneur, a shareholder or a property owner. At the same time, it is very important to comply with the rules and laws adopted in the country for the normal organization of the economic and financial sphere. Get a tax ID, pay taxes on time, file reports, and your wealth will be sustainable and promising.


What is NIF in Spain?

A tax number NIF (Número de Identificación Fiscal) is required for an individual or legal entity carrying out any activity that has tax consequences.

What is CIF in Spain?

Until 2008, the CIF (Código de Identificación Fiscal) tax number was assigned to legal entities operating in Spain. CIF has now been abolished and all individuals and businesses use NIF as their tax identifier.

How to obtain NIF in Spain as an individual?

You can obtain NIF as an individual from the Tax Office (Agencia Tributaria) by providing your ID or passport and proof of your place of residence.

How to get CIF in Spain for your business?

Obtaining a CIF is possible after registering a legal entity with the Spanish Trade Register (Registro Mercantil) and providing a package of documents, including information about the company and its founders.


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