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Getting your NIT

Sample of NIT obtained in Panajachel.

Sample of NIT obtained in Panajachel.

We had a question about what is a NIT. This article revisits that question and then tells you exactly what you need to do to obtain a NIT in Panajachel.

First, a NIT is a tax ID card. You use it with any transaction related to SAT (Superintendencia de Administration Tributaria). By related to I mean anything that has tax ramifications. For you usanos, it serves the same purpose as the now accepted use of the Social Security Number. I say now accepted because while SSN was intended to be just for Social Security use, the common use is for IRS-related dealings. For those getting a NIT for a business, it is the same as a TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) in the US.

If you have a DPI, your NIT will be associated with it but a DPI is not required to get a NIT. This makes sense — the government wants you to pay taxes, no matter who you are.

The requirements are simple. You need photocopies of two things:

  • Your identity document. This would be your DPI if you have Guatemalan citizenship or residency. If not, your passport.
  • An electric bill from where you live. This doesn’t need to be in your name — it is for establishing your location.
SAT office on Calle Principal in Panajachel.

SAT office on Calle Principal in Panajachel.

Armed with those items, head to the SAT office. in Panachel. It is on Calle Principal about a block toward the center of town from Banco Rural, on the opposite side of the street. If you get to the Grand Hotel, you went too far. I have headed over there a few times between 9 and 11 AM and found a long line. Today I got there at 8:30 and had a one minute wait.

The process is simple. Tell the person there you want a NIT and hand him copies of your ID and electric bill. He will take your picture, get your fingerprint (both electronic), have you sign the application and hand you your NIT card. The whole process too less than five minutes.

While the card is the official document, it seems that knowing your number is all that is needed. If you have a notebook or smartphone with you most of the time, storing it there should be fine.


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