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 www.ssa.gov/ssnumber. 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 IRS.gov.
If you answered “No” to all questions, then you do not need an ITIN.