What is an ITIN?
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What is an ITIN used for?
ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose. IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs).
An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Starting from 2016, ITINs will expire if not used on a federal income tax return for any year during a period of five consecutive years. The IRS will not deactivate an ITIN that has been used on at least one tax return in the past five years.
Who needs an ITIN?
IRS issues ITINs to foreign nationals and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and do not qualify for SSNs.
Examples of individuals who need ITINs include:
A nonresident alien required to get ITIN to claim tax treaty benefit
A nonresident alien required to file a U.S. tax return
A U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return
A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien
A dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder
How do I know if I need an ITIN?
If you do not have a SSN and are not eligible to obtain a SSN, but you have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal income tax return, you must apply for an ITIN.
How do I apply for an ITIN?
In the past, someone who needed an ITIN had to go to the U.S. consulate with all their documents and obtain “certified copies” of those documents. Our office is now certified by the IRS to assist in the processing of W-7 applications.
The following documents are necessary in order to prepare and submit an application for an ITIN (Form W-7):
A. Passport – Valid passport from country of origin
If a passport is not available, for an adult, any two documents from the following list are required:
Driver’s License (U.S. or foreign)
National Identification Card
Voter Registration card
Military Identification Card (U.S. or foreign)
B. Documentation explaining why you need an ITIN, for example; US tax return, original signed letter from withholding agent, purchase contract etc.