International Taxpayers: Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, is used by the IRS for tax purposes only.

ITINs are issued to individuals who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number, or SSN. Often applicants have some kind of international status.

To qualify for an ITIN, you must have a tax filing and reporting requirement, as well as file a U.S. income tax return along with the ITIN application.

There are some exceptions, which can be found in the instructions for Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status, since both residents and non-residents may have a U.S. tax filing requirement.

If you are wondering about whether you’re eligibile for a SSN, visit If you’re not eligible, then ask yourself if you’ve received any payments or income from U.S. sources. If you answer “Yes”, then you will likely need an ITIN.

If you did NOT receive any payments or income from U.S. sources, then ask yourself whether you will have to provide a U.S. tax identification number in any situation. Examples may include filing a joint tax return, being claimed as a dependent, or opening a U.S. bank account.

To apply for an ITIN, you will need to submit Form W-7, along with supporting identification documents. A copy of the form and its instructions can be found on

If you answered “No” to all questions, then you do not need an ITIN.


About cozbycpa

Heather L. Cozby is a CPA on the South Shore and Cape Cod. The managing partner of Cozby & Company, LLC, Heather has the resources and experience necessary to provide quality professional services on a timely basis and at a reasonable cost. She specializes in tax planning & preparation; audit, review & compilation services; management advisory services; bookkeeping; and accounting. Her unique niche is in working with homeowners’ associations and condominium trusts, advising with rental real estate, and providing outsourced financial consulting for mid-sized companies. She is more entrepreneurial than most accountants, and offers the best of both worlds - providing the services of a larger firm while retaining the ability to connect with her clients on a personal level.
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