What is ITIN? An ITIN is a 9 digit number starting with the number “9” and is formatted just like a social security number. ITIN is the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service to individuals for tax purposes. An ITIN is used by an individual who does not have or is not eligible to have a Social Security Number in the United States.
Who can apply for ITIN? Both resident and non-resident aliens, their spouses and dependents can apply for an ITIN if they are not eligible for a Social Security Number regardless of the person’s immigration status. An individual can apply for an ITIN if:
- The non-resident alien is required to file a tax return.
- A resident alien who is required to file a tax return due to the number of days residing in the United States.
- An individual is a dependent or the spouse of a United States citizen or resident alien.
- An individual is a dependent or the spouse of a non-resident alien visa holder.
- A tax filer who lives abroad.
To apply for an ITIN number, an individual must complete the IRS Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. It is a single page application form where the individual is required to fill in their personal details such as name and birth name (if different), date of birth and place of birth. Identification documents to accompany the application e.g. a passport, driver license or state-issued ID Foreign status or immigration documents in original form or certified copies. If the individual has used an ITIN in the past, he or she has to submit the prior identification number on the application form.
The due date for most tax payers to file an income tax return is mid-April. To submit an application past the tax due date may result in interest or penalty. To avoid the interest charge or penalty, it is advisable to apply for an IRS ITIN either before the income tax return is due or at the time of filing the tax return.
Before submitting your ITIN application form, double check for missing information to avoid delayed approval. If you have not received any response from IRS, you can check your application status by calling the toll-free number at 800-829-1040. Your application should not take more than seven weeks. An ITIN that has not been used at least once within the last 3 years have to be renew for the number to remain valid.