What is an ITIN?
ITIN is short for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. It was devised by the IRS as a 9 digit tax processing number for any individual who is not eligible to get a Social Security number, but is required to possess a U.S. taxpayer identification number. The reason it issues these numbers is to facilitate the process of paying taxes and filing tax returns. But there is more to an ITIN than meets the eye, and we will discuss that later on!
Who is issued an ITIN?
According to the IRS, there is a specific criteria of individuals who are issued ITINs by this agency. These include:
- Those who do not have SSNs, and cannot get one because they are eligible to do so.
- Those who are required to possess a federal tax ID number, or are required to file federal tax returns.
- Those who are nonresident aliens, but are required to file U.S. tax returns.
- Those are aliens but are U.S. citizens and are filing U.S. tax returns. Keep in mind that these individuals are assessed based on the number of days they have been present in the United States.
- Individuals who are proven to be the dependents or spouses of someone who is either a U.S. citizen or a resident alien within the United States.
- Individuals who are dependents or spouses of any nonresident alien who happens to hold a U.S. visa.
- Any nonresident alien who is claiming a tax treaty benefit.
- Any individual who is a nonresident alien student studying in the U.S. or a researcher doing research there, both of whom are aiming to file U.S. tax returns or claim exceptions.
If you belong to any of the above -mentioned group of people, then you will need to get an ITIN to for tax return and other purposes.
Please note that if you are in any way eligible to get an SSN, there is no need for you to obtain an ITIN, as an ITIN is only reserved for those who either do not have SSNs, or cannot obtain one because they are not eligible by the U.S. government to do so. Also keep in mind that an ITIN
What Can I Use an ITIN For?
As we mentioned, the primary use of an ITIN is to file a U.S. tax return, as it is first and foremost a tax processing number. However, there’s more to the ITIN than meets the eye.
Here are some additional things which you can do with this 9-digit number:
- Banking purposes: Those who have ITINs can use the ID number to open interest-bearing bank accounts within the United States.
- Getting a driver’s license: To further assist the individuals mentioned in the list above, some states now allow ITIN holders to obtain driver’s licenses or permits, as well as state ID cards.
- Proving residency: Immigrants may be required to prove where they reside within the U.S. and how long have they been residing there. This can be done using an ITIN for filing a tax return.
How Can I Get an ITIN?
In order to get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, you would need to fill out a form which is known as form W 7. After filling out the form and sending it out to the IRS, there is a waiting period and the IRS will issue your ITIN accordingly. In the W 7 form, you are required to present your complete information, date of completion, original documents that verify your identity, and clearly validate that you belong to the list of individuals mentioned above. You can refer to the IRS guidelines to get a better idea of what documents you can send it. Luckily, we at Prestige Auditors know which documents the IRS needs, and we can help you with the application process. The IRS will return the submitted documents about two months after the form W 7 is received and processed by the agency.
Is It Safe for Undocumented Immigrants to Obtain ITINs?
The IRS has created ITINs chiefly for tax processing purposes, and does not in any way use it as a means of controlling immigrants and imposing immigration enforcement laws. The information provided by applicants is kept in complete secrecy as part of the IRS’ efforts at upholding taxpayer privacy. The personal information gathered by the IRS during the Taxpayer Identification Number ITIN process, along with the information appearing on the form W 7 is not shared with agencies designated to enforcing immigration laws. This is further specified by the Internal Revenue Code of Conduct.
ITINs Now Have An Expiration Date
In 2012, the IRS proposed a guidance according to which any ITIN issued after the date of December 31, 2012, would “expire” and the ITIN holder would have to resubmit an application for it. On top of that, if you have an ITIN but haven’t been using it for 3 years, it would pass its expiration date and would have to be renewed. The following guideline was enacted by Congress in 2015 and has been enforced every since. You should renew your ITIN if its passed its expiration date.
Start Your ITIN Acquisition Today!
If you are not eligible for a Social Security number, and you meet the criteria of ITIN holders, worry no more! At Prestige Auditors, we will take care of the acquisition process for you, sparing you the headache, and after we’re done with the process, your ITIN will be delivered to you on a silver platter!
Book a call with today and let’s get you your ITIN!