Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)
If you earned income in the United States, you may be required to file a tax return, even if you are not eligible for a Social Security Number. In such a case, you would need to obtain an individual taxpayer identification number, or ITIN. Even if you are not required to file taxes, obtaining an ITIN on behalf of yourself or family members may result in significant monetary benefits when filing your tax returns.
What is an ITIN?
An ITIN is a tax processing number used by IRS for individuals who need taxpayer identification, but are not eligible to obtain a SSN. It is used for federal tax reporting only, and does not provide Social Security benefits or authorize work in the U.S.
Who needs an ITIN?
Anyone who requires taxpayer identification, but is not eligible to obtain a Social Security number, needs an ITIN. This includes resident and non-resident aliens filing U.S. tax returns, as well as any spouse or valid dependents listed on the filer’s return.
How do I obtain an ITIN?
Complete the IRS Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, and attach it to a completed federal income tax return along with proof of identity and foreign status documents. Documents must be originals or certified by the issuing agency.
A passport is the only document that is sufficient to prove both identity and foreign status. Otherwise, at least two documents (or certified copies) from the approved list (on the back of this page) must be provided.
Completed applications and supporting documents can be submitted by mail, in person through a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center, or with the help of an authorized Acceptance Agent.
Approved documents for Proof of Identity and Foreign Status
When should I apply?
You should complete Form W-7 as soon as you are ready to file your federal income tax return. You can apply any time during the year, but tax returns filed after the deadline may result in owing interests or penalties. If the application is accepted, and authorization letter with the ITIN will be sent within 4 – 6 weeks (up to 10 during the busy season).
Where can I get help?
You can call IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040 or make an appointment with a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. Visit www.irs.gov/app/officelocator to find an office near you.