German citizens are receiving letters from their Tax Office containing their new 11-digit tax IDs. Germany-based civil rights organization Chaos Computer Club (CCC) considers this number to be an illegal personal identification number (Personenkennziffer) and fears its misuse by the authorities.
From now on every citizen will receive a lifetime personal identification number in spite of such an ID having already been rejected by the German Federal Constitutional Court in the so-called "Mikrozensus" verdict of 1969. All old tax numbers will be replaced with the new ones by the end of the year while software updates necessary to handle them are currently being rolled out to Local Tax Offices.
Established in 2003, the statutory basis for the tax ID was supposed to be used to improve tax compliance. However, the CCC sees widespread possibilities for misusing the tax ID, since specific provision has been made for further use by "regulations" in the German Tax Code.
The CCC refers to extensive information provided by the Humanistische Union (Humanist Union) and advises all people concerned to get involved in the legal test case.
In 2007, the tax ID was awarded the Big Brother Award in the Politics category.