Signup to broker (e.g. Interactive Brokers) without tax residency?

Hi all :wave:

I’ve seen many recommendations in this forum for using Interactive Brokers.
So I tried to sign up, but during the signup process it asks for a tax residency.

I’m a digital nomad though and not a tax resident anywhere.
What am I supposed to enter there?

And does it have any negative consequences if I enter my old tax residency (Germany) just to get the account?
Or are there better ways to invest in stocks as a digital nomad?

Any tips are highly appreciated! :blush:

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@kevinsoell I don’t see an issue if you put in your Steuernummer. Interactive Broker would annually ask you to verify your account info (including whether your tax number is correct) and that would be a good opportunity to correct it (should you decide to get another tax number from another country). At least for my portfolio (which is mainly ETFs) I have not seen any impacts to my taxes. Your mileage may vary of course. Happy with Interactive Brokers, 2 years running. Was originally investing at DeGiro until they kicked me out (due to lack of EU identity).

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Thanks for your reply! :slightly_smiling_face:

Do I understand you correctly that you recommend using my old tax ID from Germany, even though it isn’t accurate any longer?

And they won’t keep taxes or tell the German tax office about it?

@kevinsoell I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant - you can put that old tax ID in, and if they question it, please come up with a valid tax ID. They may not catch on until the next time you have to re-validate your account (which is once a year).

Okay, thanks for your answer! :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m still unsure what to do, though.

You’re a digital nomad, sure. You must pay SOME kind of taxes, yes? Did they issue you a tax ID? Use that. If you’re unhappy in the future, go into the IBKR settings and change it. I wouldn’t overthink this unless you have millions to transfer into your IBKR. (Do you?)

A passport may be used instead

No, I legally do not have to pay any taxes. Hence, I don’t have a private tax ID.

@piggy: Unfortunately, a passport is not sufficient. They want to know the country of tax residency + my tax ID :see_no_evil:

Then I don’t know how to help you. The rest of us mere mortals do pay taxes somewhere (albeit at lower rate) and have a tax ID. You can either use your old Steuernummer or make up a tax ID or apply for a tax ID in some lower-tax countries. Either way, the bill comes due, when it comes to investing.

Viel Glueck!

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There was an option years ago to click that you dnt have tax i.d.

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@Jim_W + @piggy: Thanks for your help!
Seems like I’ve to do some more researchers on how to get a tax ID somewhere :slightly_smiling_face:

Yeah, I doubt any mainline broker is going to accept the idea of a person who isn’t a tax resident somewhere anymore. It’s too non-mainstream and would probably give their compliance people a fit.

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Thanks for your answer! :slightly_smiling_face:
I’ll probably try to get an account through my Estonian OÜ (like LLC, just in Estonia.

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They will likely still ask about your personal residency and tax ID as the owner of the corporation.

I would just enter my German federal TIN. Unlike the tax number you get from your local tax office in Germany it’s valid for life.

As long as you have properly severed ties with Germany so you are not meeting their definition of tax resident, it shouldn’t really matter if they receives some reports of foreign investment accounts in your name.

If you were just pretending to no longer live in Germany that could pose an issue, however.

Note that IB typically looks as the IP address where you sign up from, the residence address you provide, as well as where you claim to be tax resident (with associated TIN)—if they don’t match be prepared for additional questions and more stringent requirements for proving your address. In other words you’d make your life easier by signing up from a German IP (ideally not a commercial VPN).


That was super helpful, thanks! :slightly_smiling_face:

It seems to work. I’m just waiting for the “LEI” number so that I’m allowed to fund my account.

In case you didn’t order the LEI yet, I’d recommend using Bloomberg’s LEI service. At least a few years ago when I researched this it was the cheapest provider and you can set it to auto-renew. IIRC it costs $40/year (renewal) and $60 for a new code.

Oh, thanks for letting me know! I didn’t know about the costs.
I’ve applied for LEI through Interactive Brokers, but it didn’t cost anything :man_shrugging:t2:

I’m already waiting for 6 days now. I’m curious, if it worked out. This is completely new for me. :slightly_smiling_face: