How do I get an ITIN for my foreign spouse?

How do I get an ITIN for my foreign spouse?

Getting married can change your tax filing status, so it’s important to find out what you and your spouse need to do before April rolls around. For most couples, it makes sense to file jointly on your tax return. If one person is a foreign national, you’ll most likely need to file separately and look into the ITIN application process. The spouse who is not a citizen must obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number. Here are the steps to getting this essential number:

- Gather all important documents, such as your birth certificate and marriage license.
- Complete an ITIN application online.
- Put a packet together with all other documentation and mail to the IRS.

Why Your Spouse Needs an ITIN Number

For U.S. citizens, the social security number is the main source of identification when filing a tax return. Who can get a social security number? Generally, citizens of the U.S. or noncitizens who are authorized to work in this country are eligible for a social security number. Foreign nationals or lawful permanent residents typically don’t meet SSN eligibility. For those who can’t get a social security number and have income or are married to a citizen who files taxes, the ITIN number can help smooth out this process.

Other Things to Consider

Sometimes, your foreign spouse doesn’t have any income to declare for tax purposes. You can use the
ITIN exceptions form to address this issue. It’s also possible for some couples in this situation to file jointly, with the foreign spouse opting for resident alien status. If you file jointly, your spouse will have to report any other income outside of the U.S. on your tax return, which can be costly.

Once you’re ready to get your application going, check out for help and advice throughout the process. Here, you can even begin completing your application online and get closer to getting a head start on your taxes this year.