Difference between CIF and NIF


We will start this post with the first and most notable difference. The NIF exists and the CIF does not. At least this has been the case for more than twelve years now. However, many people continue to use the term CIF. This is why we will explain what the CIF was and what the NIF is. In addition, we will analyze the differences between these two documents.



NIF is written by the acronym of Tax Identification Number. The NIF is a unique number that identifies you as a person or a legal entity. This identification will be used to carry out any type of procedure, especially those related to the payment of taxes and duties. This number is so important that it even appears on your identity card.


The NIF is made up of nine characters. Of these characters, in the case of companies or other legal entities, one is a letter. This letter determines the type of legal entity. The letter is followed by a seven-digit number. These figures indicate the province where the legal entity is located, the civil registry number and an additional digit.

When the NIF belongs to a natural person, it is also made up of nine characters. One of these characters is also a letter that fulfills the control function. The rest of the characters are digits associated with the person’s NIF.

DNI con nif


The CIF is the tax identification code. Like the NIF, the CIF was a unique identification number. However, the CIF was only used to identify legal entities such as companies. As mentioned above, the CIF ceased to exist more than twelve years ago. Today the NIF serves to identify both individuals and legal entities. The term is still used only because many people are used to it.

You can even have tax invoices that still use the acronym CIF. This is because many administrative and accounting software applications have not been updated. This is why they still register company NIFs as CIFs. All this even after the law established in 2007 that the CIF would no longer exist and that the NIF would be used for companies instead. The acronym CIF continues to appear very frequently in Google searches of the Spanish.


There are various portals that provide tax information on companies. Even today, these portals usually refer to the company’s tax identification number as CIF.

Differences between CIF and NIF

As we have already mentioned, there is basically no major difference between the CIF and the NIF. Both are identification numbers, except that the CIF was used only for legal entities. While the NIF is for both individuals and legal entities. Furthermore, the term CIF legally no longer exists. Although it is still used, this is more a matter of custom. It is always correct to use the term NIF.

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Does it cause us any problems to say CIF instead of NIF? In everyday life, probably not. As the term CIF is still in very common use, so everyone will understand you. However, in legal terms, it’s something wrong. Whichever term you prefer to use, remember that a company’s CIF is its NIF. And that the company’s NIF is what used to be known as a CIF. This only applies to companies and other legal entities. Individuals have never had a CIF and never will.

Tell us, what term do you use to refer to tax identification? Do you still use the acronym CIF? Or have you updated yourself and use the acronym NIF, as is correct? Did you know what each acronym meant? Were you aware that legally the term CIF ceased to be used more than twelve years ago? Leave us all your answers in the comments. And if you have any doubts about the difference between these two documents, don’t forget to ask. We’ll be happy to read you.

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