An individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) is used by the IRS to identify taxpayers who do not have a Social Security number. The ITIN is a nine-digit number used to file the individual’s federal income tax return for income earned in the United States. Although an ITIN is used to report income, having one does not authorize you to work in the U.S. or entitle you to Earned Income Tax Credit or Social Security benefits.

ITIN Requirements

To be eligible to file for this type of tax identification number, you must be subject to federal tax reporting requirements, but not have a Social Security number. If you are eligible for a Social Security number, you should apply for one rather than applying for an ITIN.

Some individuals that must apply for an ITIN include:

  • Non-resident aliens who have earned U.S. income
  • Resident aliens who have earned U.S. income
  • Spouses and dependents of those who have earned U.S. income, including U.S. citizens, non-resident aliens who have visas, and resident aliens

As a spouse or dependent, you must have an ITIN if you are ineligible for a Social Security number so your husband, wife, or parent can receive the benefit of including you on his or her tax return.

Applying for an ITIN

When IRS Form W7 is filed with your federal income tax return, the IRS will assign you an ITIN. In addition to the form itself, you must supply certified copies of documents that indicate your identity and foreign status. You will need two documents of this kind unless you are able to provide a valid passport. You can also present originals if you are able to visit a local IRS taxpayer assistance office.

IRS W7 Application makes it quick and easy to apply for your ITIN. Simply follow the online prompts to complete the required information. When you’re finished, you’ll receive the form as a printable PDF. If you need help, chat with representatives who speak both English and Spanish, or send an email to customer support staff.