WHAT IS AN ITIN?
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
ITIN stands for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is a number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service for tax purposes to individuals who do not have, or are not eligible to have, a Social Security Number in the United States. ITINs are used by individuals without Social Security Numbers for federal tax filing purposes with the IRS.
An ITIN is a nine-digit number beginning with the number “9” and is formatted like a social security number, for example: 912-34-5678.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers are not dependent on immigration status in the USA, because both resident and nonresident aliens in the United States may have federal tax reporting requirements by the IRS.
An ITIN is NOT the same as a SSN and does not give the same benefits. It is for U.S. Federal income tax filing purposes only.
Form W-7 is the official IRS form required to be submitted in order to get issued an ITIN. To apply for an ITIN, you must complete Form W-7.
- You do not have a SSN, and are not eligible to obtain one
2. You are one of the following
- You are a nonresident alien who is required to file a U.S. tax return with the IRS
- U.S. resident alien who is filing a U.S. tax return with the IRS
- Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/ resident alien
- Dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien Visa holder
In most cases, W-7 forms are filed WITH a federal income tax return, and are attached to the FRONT of the federal income tax return. This takes the place of sending your Form 1040s/income tax forms to the address within that form.
You can file your Form W-7 in two ways:
- By mail to the following branch of the IRS;
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
- Apply in person at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC).
Appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, you can call 1-844-545-5640
List of designated TACs that offer ITIN document authentification services: https://www.irs.gov/uac/tac-locations-where-in-person-document-verification-is-provided
All Form W-7 ITIN applications MUST be accompanied by the following documentation:
- Original, valid U.S. Federal income tax return
- The letter of denial from the SSA (if applicable)
- Physical/Original documents OR copies of documents certified by the issuing agency* that show identifying information that matches the personal information provided on Form W-7, and shows your connection to a foreign country (“foreign status”). The documents must not be expired.
Identification documents accepted by the IRS are the following:
a. Passport - the only document you can submit without any other of the documents
Additional documents accepted by the IRS - used in combination to prove your identity AND foreign status
b. United State Citizenship and Immigration Services photo identification
c. Visa issued by the US Department of State
d. Foreign military identification card
e. Foreign voter’s registration card
f. United States driver’s license
g. United States military identification card
h.Foreign driver’s license
i. U.S. State identification card
j. National Identification card
For applications claimed as dependents
k. Civil birth certificate
l. School records (for dependents under 14, and student under 18)
Using your passport (either original or certified copy) is the most recommended, because using a passport, you do not need to submit any other documents from the list.
This is a copy of the document that the original issuing agency provides and certifies as an exact copy of the original document and contains an official stamped seal from the agency.
You may be able to request a certified copy of the documents at an embassy or consulate.
It usually takes 6-8 weeks for the IRS to process ITIN applications. You will receive a letter from the IRS with your assigned ITIN usually within 6 weeks, but can take 8-10 weeks.
The original documents will be returned to the mailing address shown on Form W-7. It is not required to include a return envelope, but you are permitted to include a prepaid Express Mail or courier envelope for faster return of the documents.
To check the status of your W-7, you will need to call the IRS at the following phone number: 1-800-829-1040.
Certain aliens with non-immigrant status that are authorized to work in the U.S. can receive an SSN.
Individuals who applied and obtained an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are eligible to apply for an SSN.
You can apply for an SSN from the Social Security Administration but completing and submitting Form SS-5. This pertains only to individuals who have been issued a Visa from the US Department of State that enabled them to obtain an SSN. If you apply for an SSN and you are denied your request to obtain an SSN, you must provide the proof of the denial from the SSA is required with your Form W-7 for an ITIN.
You can e-file a federal tax return with a W-7 ONLY in the following calendar year AFTER you originally obtained your ITIN.