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What is an ITIN?
An 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 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, example 9XX-7X-XXXX.
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).
ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have U.S. tax return and payment responsibilities 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. An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit. ITINs are not valid identification outside the tax system.
The IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with 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.
Who needs an ITIN?
The 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 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.Examples of individuals who need ITINs include:
- Non-resident aliens filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN.
- U.S. resident aliens (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN.
- Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien.
- Dependent or spouse of a non-resident alien visa holder.
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. By law, an alien individual cannot have both an
ITIN and an SSN.
The IRS processes returns showing SSNs or ITINs in the blanks where tax forms request SSNs. The IRS no longer accepts, and will not process, forms showing "SSA205c," "applied for," "NRA," blanks, etc.
Are ITINs valid for identification?
No. ITINs are not valid identification outside the tax system. Since ITINs are strictly for tax processing, the IRS does not apply the same standards as agencies that provide genuine identity certification.
ITIN applicants are not required to apply in person, and the IRS does not further validate the authenticity of identity documents. ITINs do not prove identity outside the tax system, and should not be offered or accepted as identification for non-tax purposes.
Are ITINs valid for work purposes?
No. ITINs are for federal income tax purposes only.
REVISED APPLICATION STANDARDS FOR ITINS
What are the revised application standards for ITINs?Effective immediately, each ITIN applicant must now:
- Apply using the revised Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number ; and
- Attach a federal income tax return to the Form W7.
Why is the IRS revising the ITIN application process?
The revisions to the ITIN application process will help ensure ITINs are used for their intended tax administration purposes.
What documents are acceptable as proof of identity and foreign status?
The IRS has streamlined the number of documents the agency will accept as proof of identity to obtain an ITIN. There are now 13 acceptable documents.
An original passport is the only document that is accepted for both identity and foreign status. If you do not have a passport, you must provide a combination of current documents that contain expiration dates, show your name and photograph, and support your claim of foreign status.The IRS will accept a combination (two or more) of the following documents, in lieu of a passport:
- National identification card (must show photo, name, current address, date of birth, and expiration date)
- U.S. driver's license
- Civil birth certificate
- Foreign driver's license
- U.S. state identification card
- Foreign voter's registration card
- U.S. military identification card
- Foreign military identification card
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification
- Medical records (dependents only)
- School records (dependents and/or students only)