How to Get an ITIN Number

It’s that wonderful time of year least for Uncle Sam because now’s the time to go through the hoops of filing taxes as well as the joy of (hopefully) getting a refund. In fact, according to WalletHub, the average tax refund in 2017 totaled $2,897. Over 244 million Americans interact with the IRS each year (3X more than any other federal agency).

Regardless of what your refund looks like this year, almost everybody who earns any kind of income in the United States is required to go through the process of filing taxes. Fortunately, the IRS has simplified the filing process for taxpayers who don’t have a social security number. The ITIN number system makes it possible for foreigners or immigrants to file taxes for any income earned in the United States. Here is a look at everything you need to know to get an ITIN number.

What is an ITIN number?

In essence, an ITIN number, or Individual Tax Identification Number is simply a 9-digit number that the IRS provides for taxpayers who don’t qualify for a social security number so that we can file our taxes. ITIN numbers start with 9 and follow the format of social security numbers.

The Internal Revenue Service provides ITIN numbers regardless of immigration status and does not share taxpayer information with immigration agents. Taxpayers who file with an ITIN don’t automatically obtain any Authorization to Work or eligibility for benefits. By law, you can’t have a social security number AND an ITIN number. Some people use the term Tax ID Number and ITIN interchangeably. In reality, both ITIN numbers and social security numbers are different types of Tax ID numbers.

But what about business owners? When it comes to filing taxes for a business, you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is another number issued by the IRS that identifies your business for tax purposes.

How do I get an ITIN number?

The typical length of time required for the IRS to review your application and provide you with an ITIN number is 4 to 6 weeks. The process begins with filling out a W-7 form, also known as the “Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.”

In most cases, when sending the application form to the IRS, you’d also have to attach your tax return with the paperwork, unless you qualify for an exception. Don’t forget your original documents or certified documents proving your identity as well as documents proving your identity as a foreigner.

If you know of a trustworthy tax preparer, you might want to get them to help you obtain an ITIN number, since they can verify if you qualify for an exception or not.

Who qualifies for an ITIN number?

According to, the agency issues ITINs to foreign nationals and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements but do not qualify for SSNs.

Other people who would need ITIN numbers include:

• A nonresident alien required to file a U.S. tax return

• A U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return

• A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien

• A dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder

How do I renew my ITIN number?

In 2016, the IRS announced that it would require anyone who had not used their ITIN number to file taxes for 3 or more years to renew their numbers.  The process for renewing an ITIN number can be found on the following page, How do I renew my ITIN?

So, what will you do with your tax refund? To stay up to date on other helpful Knowledge Center articles, make sure to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.

You don’t need an ITIN to save money on your car insurance. Call 1-800-INFINITY or get a free online quote today!

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