Can you start a business without an ITIN?
Yes, you can start a business in the United States without an ITIN, but you do need an EIN. An ITIN is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and is only required when a foreign national needs to file taxes, such as with an individual federal tax return. An EIN is an Employer Identification Number and is often required to open a business checking account in the U.S., for payroll purposes to pay employees, and for filing business tax returns. There are a few steps to opening a business without an ITIN:
- Choose a tax structure for the business, such as S-corporation, C-corporation, or LLC
- Register the business with the state
- Apply for EIN
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need an ITIN or Social Security number to apply for an EIN. You simply need to fill out the proper documentation to register your business with the state and federal authorities. Once you have filled out the proper paperwork and have received an EIN, you should be good to start your business. You will file any of your business tax returns using the EIN.
You do need an ITIN if you are working in the U.S. and plan to file personal taxes for yourself rather than your business, however. You may apply for ITIN when you submit your federal tax return. There are specific W-7 form instructions for submitting an ITIN application, and you generally send the form with your tax return and original identification documents to the IRS. There are at least two foreign identification documents required for ITIN. If you have a current passport, that alone will satisfy the document requirements.
You may find the documents to apply for an ITIN number online, but the application and all applicable documents must be mailed to the IRS. You will need to send your original documents or certified copies of the documents that prove you are a foreign national to the IRS as part of the application.