Do You Need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)? - John R. Dundon II, Enrolled Agent
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Do You Need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?

Do You Need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?

If you do not have a Social Security Number (SSN) and are not eligible to obtain a SSN, but you are required to provide a tax identification number (TIN) to file a U.S. Federal income tax return, be claimed as a spouse or dependent on a U.S. tax return or for any other Federal tax purpose, apply for an ITIN using IRS Form W-7.

IMPORTANT NOTE

Under the new rules, securing an ITIN for a dependent is best done directly at an IRS walk in clinic that staffs ITIN Certifying Acceptance Agents as this is the only way you can forego having to tender your dependent’s passport to the IRS for up to 60 days.

You cannot have both an ITIN and a SSN. If you are eligible for a SSN, you must first apply for one. Persons eligible to receive an SSN are not eligible to receive an ITIN. To request a SSN, use Form SS-5, – Application for a Social Security Card.

Treasury regulations governing Internal Revenue Code Section 6109 requires a valid taxpayer identification number for each person listed on the tax return. If the Social Security Administration denies your request for a SSN they will issue a denial letter. That letter must be attached to the Form W-7 when it is submitted to the IRS.

Examples of US Taxpayers who need an ITIN:

  • A nonresident alien eligible to obtain the benefit of a reduced tax withholding rate under an income tax treaty as per IRS Publication 515 – Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities
  • A nonresident alien not eligible for a SSN who is required to file a U.S. Federal income tax return or who is filing a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund.
  • A nonresident/resident alien not eligible for a SSN who elects to file a joint U.S. Federal income tax return with a spouse who is a U.S. citizen or resident
  • A U.S. resident alien as defined by the substantial presence test who files a U.S. Federal income tax return but who is not eligible for a SSN, information about the substantial presence test can be found in IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
  • An alien spouse, claimed as an exemption on a U.S. Federal income tax return, who is not eligible to obtain a SSN.
  • An alien eligible to be claimed as a dependent on a U.S. Federal income tax return but who is not eligible to obtain a SSN. To determine if an alien individual is eligible to be claimed as a dependent on a United States Federal income tax return, see IRS Publication 501 – Exemptions, Standard Deductions, and Filing Information, and IRS Publication 519 – A United States Tax Guide for Aliens.
  • A nonresident alien student, professor, or researcher who is required to file a United States Federal income tax return but who is not eligible for a SSN. If you have an application for a SSN pending, do not file Form W-7. Complete Form W-7 only when the SSA notifies you that a SSN cannot be issued. Proof that the SSA denied your request for a SSN must be included with your submission of Form W-7

IMPORTANT NOTE

If you are filing for an extension of time to file a United States Federal income tax return or making an estimated payment with Forms 4868 or Form 1040-ES – Estimated Tax for Individuals/ Estimated Tax for Nonresident Aliens – do not file the Form W-7 with these forms.

Write “ITIN TO BE REQUESTED” wherever the ITIN or SSN is requested. An ITIN will be issued only after you have filed a valid U.S. Federal income tax return and have met all other requirements.



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