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What is ITIN? and who needs IT?

What is ITIN? and who needs IT?

What is an ITIN?

  • Created for tax purposes.  The ITIN was created by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in July 1996 so that foreign nationals and other individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number (SSN) can pay the taxes they are legally required to pay.
  • ITINs are not cards like SSNs.  The ITIN is sent to the recipient in a letter, and it is important to save that letter.  An ITIN is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, for example 9XX-7X-XXXX.
  • Many legal immigrants have ITINs.  There are several reasons why an individual who must file U.S. taxes may not have a Social Security number.  People who must pay taxes but who may not be eligible for an SSN include:
  • Non-resident alien filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for a SSN; if you are not a U.S. citizen, you are considered a “nonresident alien” unless you meet one of two tests: the “green card” test or the “substantial presence” test for the calendar year.  An example of a non-resident alien who needs to file taxes is a person who owns or invests in a U.S. business and receives income from that U.S. business, but lives in another country.
  • U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for a SSN (for example, a foreign-born student in the U.S.).
  • Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
  • Dependent or spouse of a legal immigrant on a temporary visa.
How to Apply?

The applicant needs to fill FORM W-7 in order to apply for an ITIN. The form can be found athttp://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw7.pdf. You need to send your application via mail to your local Internal Revenue Service office including the following documents:

  • Valid federal income tax return (unless you have exception)
  • Passport copy (all pages)
  • Visa copy
  • Valid I-94
  • Filled W-7 form

When to Apply?

You need to apply for ITIN once you complete your form W-7 and as soon as you are ready to file your federal income tax return. If you fall into the exception category for filing federal income tax return, you need to provide necessary documents for the proof of your foreign status.

Help Line?

If you have any questions regarding your application, or if you want to find the status of your application you may call IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040

 

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