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Form W-7, or officially Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form used to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in the U.S. It may also be used to renew an existing ITIN that is expiring or has already expired. According to the latest update from the IRS, an ITIN that has not been included on a U.S. federal tax return at least once in the last five consecutive years will expire; therefore, renewal using Form W-7 is important.
In the United States, only citizens and non-citizens who are authorized to work are eligible to have a Social Security number (SSN). An SSN is used to identify an individual when filing taxes to the IRS, the federal tax agency in the U.S. that oversees the collection of taxes and enforces tax laws. People who are ineligible to obtain an SSN from the Social Security Administration (SSA) can apply for an ITIN using IRS Form W-7. An ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS. In general, non-citizens without work authorization also need to file U.S. tax returns if they have income from U.S. sources. Moreover, taxpayers who list non-citizen spouses or dependents on their tax return need to provide an identification number for them — an ITIN may be used in this situation.
To apply for an ITIN, aside from a completed Form W-7, documents that confirm your identity and foreign status are required. A valid passport proves both. If you do not have a passport, here are the documents you may submit:
- Photo ID card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- Visa issued by the State Department — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- U.S. of foreign driver’s license — Confirms identity.
- U.S. military ID card — Confirms identity.
- Foreign military ID card — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- National ID card from a foreign country — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- Non-driver ID card issued by a U.S. state — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- Foreign voter registration card — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- Foreign birth certificate — Confirms identity; if the document is from a foreign country, it confirms foreign status and identity.
- Medical records for children under 6 — Confirms identity; if the document is from a foreign country, it confirms foreign status and identity.
- School records for children under 14 or under 18 if still a student — Confirms identity; if the document is from a foreign country, it confirms foreign status and identity.
You must submit original documents or certified copies from the issuing agency. The original documents will be returned to you at the mailing address shown on your Form W-7. Mail the completed Form W-7 and the supporting documents to:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
Get a copy of W-7 template in PDF format.
Form W-7 is a one-page form that requires your personal information.
First, check the applicable boxes to determine if you are applying for a new ITIN or renewing an existing ITIN and the reason you are submitting Form W-7.
Name asks your full legal name as it appears on your identifying documents. Provide your name at birth if applicable.
Applicant’s Mailing Address asks for your complete mailing address. This is the address that the IRS will use to return your original documents and send a written notification of your ITIN application status.
Foreign (non-U.S.) Address asks for your complete foreign, non-U.S. address where you permanently reside.
Birth Information asks for your date of birth, country of birth, and gender.
Other Information asks for information relevant to your application, such as your countries of citizenship, foreign tax ID number, type of U.S. visa and its number and expiration, details of the submitted identification document and its information, your ITIN application information, name of school or company and its location and your length of stay in it.
Sign Form W-7 and provide your name, the date the form was completed, and your contact information.
Start filling out a W-7 sample and export in PDF.
Where do I get a W7 Form?
There are several sources where you can get an ITIN application form. You can download Form W7 online — from the official IRS website or websites that have an online library of fillable documents like PDFRun. You will have to answer a series of questions on the application form and submit it to an official IRS location along with the required documents.
You can also get an ITIN application form from your local IRS office or through Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). The TAC may ask you for an adequate reason before they accept your ITIN application form. If you are making a large purchase with the money for which you are asking an ITIN, bring copies of invoices or account statements that show this.
You can also get an ITIN application form from participating colleges, universities, and technical schools. Make sure to bring your photo ID along with your completed application form. If you are at least 16 years old, you also have to bring two official documents that show your name and age or date of birth, such as a U.S passport or driver's license.
Finally, if you know someone or a professional who is willing to help you with tax returns, ask them for an ITIN application form.
Who needs an ITIN?
Most resident and nonresident aliens are required to have an ITIN to comply with U.S. tax laws, and for them, it is their identification number. Nonresident aliens who do not qualify to obtain an SSN should apply for an ITIN to comply with U.S. tax laws and carry out other financial transactions, such as opening interest-bearing accounts or obtaining mortgages.
An ITIN does NOT provide work authorization in the United States or allow the ITIN holder to vote.
Even though an ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S., many banks and financial institutions require one to open a bank account or get a loan. You can apply for an ITIN at the same time you apply for your visa, but you'll need to file separate applications with the IRS and the State Department.
ITINs are only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get an SSN. Your child may already have a number. Check with your local Social Security Administration office or call the SSA at 800-772-1213 to find out if your child is eligible for an SSN. If your child is not eligible for an SSN, you should apply for an ITIN as soon as possible so that the application process will not hinder any current or future financial transactions.
Can I file a W7 online?
Yes, you can file your w7 form online. You have the option to file your ITIN application form with your federal income tax return. Take note, however, that if a tax return is accompanied by one or more w7 forms, it cannot be submitted electronically or via mail.
There are also companies that offer TIN application services; they can assist you in filing your w-7 form online.
How long does it take to process the w7 form?
In general, it takes about seven weeks to process your ITIN application. It could take less time, however, depending on the number of applications the IRS has received during your time of application or if you submit all the required documents and application forms with your first submission.
Applicants will receive a notification of their status within 10 weeks at most.
Who qualifies for an ITIN?
Not everyone can get an ITIN. You qualify to apply for ITIN if:
- You are filing a tax return and you do not have and are not eligible to get a Social Security Number.
- You — and your spouse if filing jointly — have taxable income without regard to the foreign earned income exclusion, the foreign housing exclusion or deduction, or the foreign housing deduction. You must also file Form 1040NR, US Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, or Form 1040NR-EZ, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens With No Dependents, and Schedule A of Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ is not attached. Note that if you are filing Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, or 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, do not use this chart; see the instructions for line 4 in the Instructions for Form 2555 or 2555-EZ.
- You are claiming a refund of over withheld or overpaid tax under the provisions of Article 21 (Income from Sources Outside the United States) of Chapter 4 of Subtitle A (Income Taxes) of the Internal Revenue Code. You must also file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, and Schedule A of Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ is not attached.
How do illegal immigrants get an ITIN?
An ITIN is assigned by the IRS to individuals who are required to have a taxpayer identification number but who do not have and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Just like the regular application, for illegal immigrants to apply for an ITIN, they have to fill out Form W-7 and submit it to the IRS.
There is a risk that applying for an ITIN may lead to deportation for undocumented workers.
How do I get my husband an ITIN?
If your spouse is eligible to apply for an ITIN, you may be wondering whether you should apply for a Spousal ITIN. In many cases, a spousal ITIN is not necessary if your spouse has an SSN or is eligible to get one. If your spouse does not have an SSN and is not eligible to get one but will be filing a tax return with income from self-employment or interest, you should consider applying for an ITIN.
Your spouse may apply for an ITIN by filling out Form W-7 and submitting it to the IRS together with the required documents.
How can I get an ITIN quickly?
The regular processing time for ITIN applications is seven to 10 weeks. According to the IRS, if an individual needs to file a tax return and does not have a Social Security Number, he or she should apply for an ITIN as soon as possible.
While there is no way to expedite the approval of your ITIN, you may contact the IRS to check the status of your application.
What documents do I need to get an ITIN?
To get an ITIN, below are the documents you must submit:
- A completed W-7 Form
- Valid Passport
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card or Green card
However, if you do not have a passport, you can submit the following documents that confirm your foreign status and identity:
- Photo ID card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Visa issued by the State Department
- U.S. or foreign driver’s license
- U.S. military ID card
- Foreign military ID card
- National ID card from a foreign country
- Non-driver ID card issued by a U.S. state
- Foreign voter registration card
- Foreign birth certificate
- Medical records for children under 6
- School records for children under 14 or under 18 if still a student
How long are ITIN numbers good for?
Your ITIN may expire before you file a tax return. All ITINs not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will expire due to nonuse. Moreover, all ITINs issued before 2013 with middle digits of 88 will expire at the end of 2021.
Make sure that your ITIN is valid before filing your returns.
What is the difference between a Social Security Number and an ITIN?
A Social Security Number and an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number have different purposes. The Social Security Number is used for personnel, payroll, and benefit records of employees, while the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number is used by individuals who must pay taxes but are not eligible for a Social Security Number.
Social Security Numbers
The nine-digit Social Security number (SSN) was created in 1936. The law requires most U.S. workers to have a number and to pay Social Security taxes. In the tax system, the SSN identifies an individual's records when reporting wages for income tax purposes, so it's used primarily by employees and their employers.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
An ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, but it is not a substitute for a Social Security Number. The ITIN is used to process federal tax returns and as identification when conducting business with the IRS.
Can I have both ITIN and SSN?
An individual cannot have both an ITIN and an SSN when filing their federal income tax return. This means that if an undocumented immigrant is filing a United States federal tax return, he or she must choose either an ITIN or an SSN to file under. If he or she files with an ITIN and later applies for permanent residency, the individual will have to switch over to using an SSN provided by the SSA. Doing so will cause the individual to have two different names on their SSA records, which can be problematic when trying to apply for loans or employment in the future.
It is advisable that US citizens and resident aliens who are filing a federal tax return with an ITIN switch over to using their SSNs instead of ITINs. The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires US citizens and resident aliens to provide a valid SSN on their tax returns in order for the return to be processed; if they do not, it causes significant delays in processing time.
Why do I need ITIN?
The purpose of having an ITIN is to allow US taxpayers to file taxes, despite not being eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN).
In general, you need an ITIN to file a tax return in the US if you are a foreign citizen without a social security number, but there are several exceptions.
You can also use an ITIN to open up a bank account in the United States, despite having no SSN. You can even create a company and open a bank account for your LLC using an ITIN instead of an SSN.
What are the benefits of having an ITIN?
The benefits of having an ITIN are the following:
- Taxpayer identification number for foreigners, whose income is not subject to taxation in the US, including non-resident aliens having US source income or gain which is not effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the US. This category also includes resident aliens filing returns on Form 1040NR (i.e., the tax return for non-resident US citizens and resident aliens, which is filed in lieu of Form 1040) who do not have an SSN.
- Taxpayer identification number for bona fide residents of American Samoa or Puerto Rico, whose income is subject to tax withholding by the United States. A taxpayer identification number must be provided on all returns or forms, even if no income tax liability exists.
- Taxpayer identification number for US citizens or resident aliens who do not have and are not eligible to get an SSN but need taxpayer-identification for their dependents from other countries, whose income is subject to tax withholding by the United States.
- An ITIN can be used, instead of an SSN, on applications for certain state and local benefits.
Is an ITIN the same as an EIN?
An ITIN and an EIN are both numbers assigned by the IRS to individuals for tax purposes but used in different ways.
The purpose of an ITIN is for people without a Social Security Number who are engaged in business activities or receiving income in the United States to comply with U.S. federal tax laws. It is not available to people who will receive wages; instead, a Social Security number would be used.
An ITIN does not grant the right to work, nor is it the same as a Social Security Number. A taxpayer must have both an ITIN and a valid SSN in order to apply for any credit or benefit under the U.S. tax code.
The purpose of an EIN is for businesses to uniquely identify themselves in the marketplace. While an EIN is also assigned by the IRS, it is used specifically for tax filing purposes when a business entity does not have an SSN.
The major difference between an ITIN and an EIN is that with an ITIN, you are not required to make estimated tax payments. When you have an EIN, however, your business needs to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe taxes of $1,000 or more when filing your return.
An ITIN is issued for federal tax reporting purposes only and does not qualify the holder for Social Security benefits. An EIN is the same as a Social Security Number for a business. Many people use the two terms interchangeably, but this is incorrect.
The primary purpose of an EIN is for businesses to have a unique identifying number within the IRS tax system. When you file as a sole proprietor or partnership, then your Social Security Number becomes your Tax Identification Number as well as for tax purposes as an individual.
A sole proprietor is not taxed differently than any other individual taxpayer, but some businesses can save money by filing taxes as a corporation or an LLC.
If you pay employees, then you will need to obtain an EIN while also maintaining your SSN. If you are the only owner of the company and plan on staying that way for the foreseeable future, then you will usually receive an EIN automatically.
It is important to note that an ITIN does not transfer over when you decide to stop using it in favor of an EIN. You cannot use one number in place of the other when filing taxes or when complying with federal laws regarding reporting income.
Is the ITIN free?
There is no fee for issuing an ITIN. However, it is worth noting that the IRS does charge fees to process tax returns.
Can a US citizen get an ITIN?
A US citizen does not need an ITIN. An ITIN is only needed by individuals who cannot obtain an SSN.
The IRS will only issue an ITIN to the following groups:
- Foreign nationals, residing in the U.S. who are required to have a taxpayer identification number but who do not have one and are not eligible to obtain an SSN from the Social Security Administration (SSA). If your dependent is a foreign national residing in the U.S. who is not eligible for an SSN, you must obtain an ITIN for him or her if you want to report your dependent's income on Form 1040.
- Nonresident aliens who are required to file a U.S. tax return and need to provide a taxpayer identification number when doing so.
Can a tourist get an ITIN?
An ITIN is only required for tourists when staying in a country for an extended period of time and when filing for their income taxes.
Is it easy to get an ITIN number?
It is easy to apply for an ITIN. Just fill out an ITIN application form, also known as the IRS w7 form, and submit it to the IRS together with the other requirements. However, before applying for an ITIN, make sure you are eligible.
To be eligible to apply for an ITIN, you must be:
- A non-resident alien individual who must file a U.S. tax return or is exempt from filing, but needs identification for tax purposes.
- Otherwise eligible to receive an SSN, except that your Social Security Card says "Not valid for employment," or "Valid for work only with INS authorization," or both. You must not be eligible to receive an SSN if you already have one.
Where can I find my ITIN?
If you lost your ITIN, you may call the IRS ITIN hotline Number at 1-800-908-9982. The ITIN Hotline is designed to assist taxpayers with questions about an ITIN or if they have lost their ITIN and need it replaced by the IRS.
Can I get a tax refund with an ITIN number?
The only purpose of an ITIN is to provide the Internal Revenue Service with an identification number to use when dealing with non-resident aliens.
The ITIN is issued regardless of whether or not the applicant intends to reside in the U.S., work, claim tax credits, or pay taxes. It simply serves as a means of identification for IRS purposes. It is not used to get a tax refund.
Can I get the child tax credit if I have an ITIN?
You may not claim child tax credit using an ITIN. ITINs are issued to individuals who are required by law to have a taxpayer identification number but don't qualify for a Social Security Number. The child must have an SSN to be eligible for the child tax credit.
Does a single-member LLC need a TIN or EIN?
A single-member LLC does not need to have an EIN. The owner of a single-member LLC is considered the company and therefore must report business income or losses on his or her personal tax return. Using his or her TIN, the owner reports the income and expenses on IRS Form 1040, Schedule C.
However, a single-member LLC is not the same as a sole proprietorship. A single-member LLC can be taxed like a corporation, or it can elect to be taxed as a "disregarded entity." If an LLC makes this election, it simply files its annual tax return as a sole proprietorship using IRS Form 1040, Schedule C.
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