An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. It is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, example 9XX-7X-XXXX.
IRS issues Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers 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).
Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and
nonresident aliens may have U.S. tax return and payment responsibilities under the Internal Revenue Code.
Individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return to receive an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, unless they meet an exception.
ITINs - Purpose
ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose. An Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit. Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers are not valid identification outside the tax system.
IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers.
ITIN - Reporting
IRS issues ITINs to foreign nationals and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and do not qualify for SSNs. A non-resident alien individual not eligible for an SSN, who is required to file a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund of tax under the provisions of a U.S. tax treaty, needs an ITIN.
Examples of individuals who need Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers include:
Non-resident alien filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN
U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN
U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN
Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien
Dependent or spouse of a non-resident alien visa holder
Do I need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number?
If you do not have an SSN and are not eligible to obtain an SSN, but you have a
requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal
income tax return, you must apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers. By law, an alien individual cannot have both an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and an SSN.