Effective January 1, 2013, the IRS has updated procedures that affect the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) application process. Some of the information below, including the documentation requirements for individuals seeking an ITIN, has been superseded by these changes. Taxpayers and their representatives should review these changes, which are further explained in these Frequently Asked Questions, before requesting an ITIN.
1. What is an ITIN?
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. It is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a range of 70-88 in the fourth and fifth digits. Effective April 12, 2011, the range was extended to include 900-70-0000 through 999-88-9999, 900-90-0000 through 999-92-9999, and 900-94-0000 through 999-99-9999. 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).
ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.
Individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return to receive an ITIN unless they meet an exception.
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).
ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.
2. 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. A non-resident alien individual not eligible for an SSN who is required to file a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund of tax under the provisions of a U.S. tax treaty needs an ITIN.
3. Other examples of individuals who need ITINs include:
A nonresident alien is 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
4. How do I know if I need an ITIN?
If you do not have an SSN and are not eligible to obtain an 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.
If you have an application for an SSN pending, do not file Form W-7. Complete Form W-7 only if the Social Security Administration (SSA) notifies you that an SSN cannot be issued.
To obtain an SSN, see Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. To get Form SS-5 or to find out if you are eligible to obtain an SSN, go to Social Security Administration or contact an SSA office. By law, an alien individual cannot have both an ITIN and an SSN.
IRS processes return showing SSNs or ITINs in the blanks where tax forms request SSNs. IRS no longer accepts, and will not process, forms showing "SSA205c," "applied for," "NRA," blanks, etc.
5. How do I apply for an ITIN?
Contact our representatives for more details...