Is an ITIN the same as an SSN?

Is an ITIN the same as an SSN?

If you need to file a federal tax return in the United States, the IRS requires you to have a tax ID number (TIN). However, you may be a little confused when you need a TIN number because there are different types. A Social Security Number (SSN) and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) both let you process taxes and consist of 9 digits, but are quite different from one another. Here’s how an ITIN differs from an SSN:

How They’re Issued

The first thing that sets these two numbers apart is the agencies that issue them. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns ITINs while the Social Security Administration (SSA) issues SSNs.

Their Purposes

It’s true that both of these numbers are used by the IRS for tax processing purposes. However, an SSN can be used for identification in many instances while an ITIN cannot. For example, SSNs may be used to open bank accounts or receive medical treatment.

Eligibility Requirements

By law, you cannot have both an SSN and ITIN. In order to meet SSN eligibility requirements, you need to either be an American citizen or a noncitizen who has permission from the Department of Homeland Security to work in America. However, if you can’t obtain an SSN but need to file a tax return, you can submit an ITIN application. 

Application Process 

If you’re a noncitizen and want an SSN, you’ll need to have the proper forms from the Department of Homeland Security. You submit the application form and provide the documents that prove you’re eligible to work in the United States. However, when applying for an ITIN, you can complete the form online and then send the documents to be submitted for ITIN to the IRS. You should apply for an ITIN while you’re filing your tax return. You may qualify for certain ITIN exceptions. Getting your ITIN online is easy when you fill out the application online with ITIN W-7 Application.