FAQs - Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
Who needs to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?
You need an ITIN if you are not eligible to get a social security number but must provide a taxpayer identification number on a U.S. tax return or information return. Examples include the following:
- A nonresident alien individual eligible to get the benefit of reduced withholding under an income tax treaty
- A nonresident alien individual not eligible for an SSN who is required to file a U.S. tax return or who is filing a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund
- A nonresident alien individual not eligible for an SSN who elects to file a joint U.S. tax return with a spouse who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien
- A U.S. resident alien (based on the substantial presence test) who files a U.S. tax return but who is not eligible for an SSN
- An alien spouse who is claimed as an exemption on a U.S. tax return but who is not eligible to get an SSN
- An alien individual who is eligible to be claimed as a dependent on a U.S. tax return but who is not eligible to get an SSN
- A nonresident alien student, professor or researcher who is required to file a U.S. tax return but who is not eligible for an SSN, or who is claiming an exception to the tax return filing requirement
- A dependent/spouse of a nonresident alien U.S. visa holder, who is not eligible for an SSN
ITINs are for federal tax reporting only and are not intended to serve any other purpose. The 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 (SSNs).
An ITIN does not provide authorization to work in the United States or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.
What is an Acceptance Agent?
An Acceptance Agent is a person or an entity (business or organization) who, pursuant to a written agreement with the IRS, is authorized to assist individuals and other foreign persons who do not qualify for a Social Security Number. but who still need a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to process a Form 1040 and other tax schedules. The Acceptance Agent facilitates the application process by reviewing the necessary documents and forwarding completed Forms W-7 to the IRS, which results in a much quicker process. Tax Samaritan is a certified Acceptance Agent.
I am a U.S. taxpayer residing abroad, and I have a child who was born abroad. Can I claim my child as a dependent on my tax return?
In general, you can claim exemptions for individuals who qualify as your dependents. To be your dependent, the individual must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, U.S. resident alien or a resident of Canada or Mexico for some part of the calendar year in which your tax year begins.
Children usually are citizens or residents of the same country as their parents. If you were a U.S. citizen when your child was born, your child generally is a U.S. citizen. This is true even if the child’s other parent is a nonresident alien, the child was born in a foreign country, or the child lives abroad with the other parent.
You must include the social security number (SSN) of each dependent on your return. If your dependent is a nonresident alien who is not eligible to get a social security number, you must list the dependent’s individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), instead of an SSN.
I live in a foreign country. How do I get a social security number for my dependent who qualifies for a social security card?
You will need to contact the Social Security Administration, as the IRS does not issue SSNs. Use Form SS-5-FS, Application For A Social Security Card, which may be obtained from and filed with the Social Security Administration.
When and how do I apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?
You need an ITIN as soon as you are ready to file your federal income tax return, since you need to attach the return to your application. To apply for an ITIN, complete Form W-7, the Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. See the related Instructions for Form W-7 for documents that will be needed and where the application is to be submitted. Refer to the website Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for specific information.
There are exceptions to the requirement to include a U.S. tax return with the Form W-7. For example, if you are a nonresident alien individual eligible to receive the benefit of reduced withholding under an income tax treaty, you can apply for an ITIN without having to attach a federal income tax return. For a complete list of exceptions to the requirement to attach an income tax return, refer to the Exceptions Tables in the Instructions for Form W-7.