An ITIN number is a tax identification number for individuals in the United States who need to file and pay federal taxes, but do not have a Social Security Number, usally due to their undocumented status in the United States. These individuals can get an ITIN number to pay income taxes.
Individuals who do not have a Social Security number and are not eligible to receive one, but who are required to pay Federal taxes must get an ITIN number. This includes resident aliens; non-resident aliens; spouses of resident aliens; dependants of resident aliens; spouses of non-resident aliens who hold a visa; and dependants of non-resident aliens who hold a visa. This is a rather large and growing population in the United States. The increase in the application for an ITIN number has led to it’s use beyond filing income tax returns with the Federal Government.
To start the process of getting your ITIN number obtain Form W-7 (Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) from the Internal Revnue Service. This form is found online on many government websites. A tax preparer will also be able to help you with this form. Sign the form after completing all information, keep a copy for your personal records and file the original with the IRS. To get your ITIN number you will also need to provide documents that prove your identity and your foreign status like a passport or national identification card. Complete a federal tax return to submit along with your application and supporting documents to finish the process of applying for your ITIN number.
The IRS has made modifications to the ITIN number application process–most notably they changed from issuing an ITIN number on a card that was often easily confused with a social security card. The change in the ITIN number application process was to help avoid confusion where an ITIN number was used for purposes other than tax identification with the IRS. Those individuals that currently have an ITIN number card will not have that card replaced. They should continue to use the ITIN number issued on that card for tax identification purposes.
Tips for using your ITIN number:
Your ITIN number is accepted as identification by many fianncial institutions when applying for credit cards and/or loans. This process of using your ITIN number will over time build a credit history.
The major credit reporting agencies in the United States compile this information from financial institutions to create credit standings and reports. Using your ITIN number means your transactions will be recorded and you will establish a credit report.
It is very important that when you use your ITIN number in a transaction that you are consistent with your first and last name and middle initial and your address. If you use different variations in an ITIN transaction you will essentially be creating duplicate identities with the credit reporting agencies.