How To Obtain an ITIN

How to Obtain an ITIN

When an individual resides in the United States, a lot of questions pop in their mind including how to obtain an ITIN number. No doubt, the United States is very lucrative in terms of finance as well as economy, which is why one of the main reasons for people to reside in United States is either employment or business. But prior to that, people need to obtain an E2 visa. This visa makes individuals eligible to develop, reside, and direct their company.

After obtaining E2 visa, people usually ask how to obtain an ITIN number because they are non residents and they are not eligible for the SSN – Social Security Number (one of the Tax ID numbers). ITIN number is not only for the non residents. It may be for residents also depending on the situation. The entire process of how to obtain an ITIN is lengthy and may take some time. In order to know more about how to obtain an ITIN number, keep reading.

What is an ITIN?

Before we go into the details of how to obtain an ITIN number, you should first understand what an ITIN number is. Nevertheless, understanding the basic concept of an ITIN number is essential if you want to explore how to obtain an ITIN number properly. The ITIN number stands for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the authority which grants ITIN to residents and non-residents. This number is a tax processing number. It is comprised of nine digits.

What is the Purpose of ITIN Number?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues ITIN numbers to the individuals who need to have US taxpayer identification number. It is provided to them usually because they do not meet the criteria for a Social Security Number (SSN) granted by the Social Security Administration (SSA). ITINs are issued despite the immigration status. This is because both, non-residents and residents may have United States’ reporting and filing obligations under the IRC.

Filing of tax returns is a responsibility of every non-resident and resident. It is an obligation and duty for them, which is why people need to obtain ITIN number. Furthermore, it is for the real estate brokers as well. The brokers may need to facilitate mortgages for the ones who are unauthorized to do it. Additionally, they can pay off the taxes for their rental income on showing the ITIN number.

Those who are trying to know how to obtain an ITIN number, they must keep in mind that they need to submit a W-7 form filling all the requirements with correct information. In case, they do not do so, either the IRS will not accept it or will issue them a temporary ITIN number which will be of no use after a very short time period.

Why Do I Need an ITIN Number? Am I Eligible For an ITIN Number?

In order to get things done smoothly, one must be qualified for it. If you are not eligible, you will not be able to achieve it. Similarly, if you are really concerned about how to obtain an ITIN number, you should first know who can qualify for it, and how one becomes eligible for an ITIN number. Most importantly, you must remember that the IRS only grants ITIN numbers to those who need to file and report the taxes.

Regardless of the residents and non-residents, one may need to file tax returns as per the Internal Revenue Code. One automatically becomes eligible for an ITIN number, when they are not eligible for the SSN by the SSA but they have to furnish a federal tax identification number, they should apply for an ITIN number.

If you are pondering over how to obtain an ITIN number, then you may know that you need an ITIN number. But those who do not know and want to know the purpose behind it, should keep in mind that a person only needs it when they find a job and are working in the United States. The following are some examples of individuals who require an ITIN, which will help you knowing why you need one.

  • A non-resident alien who is required to file federal tax returns
  • A principal investor or a dependant of a United States’ citizen
  • Spouse of a non-resident or an individual holding a visa
  • US residents who need to file federal taxes based on the number of days residing in the United States

Characteristics of an ITIN Number

The Tax ID numbers are really important for both the residents, as well as non-residents. Since, the obligation of filing federal taxes is levied on them; for this reason, this makes it more essential for them. But in order to make your base stronger for how to obtain an ITIN number, you need to keep certain things in minds i.e. the features and characteristics of an ITIN number.

1.    Remember, ITIN Numbers are Not Like SSN Numbers

All those trying to learn how to obtain an ITIN number, they must always remember that ITIN numbers are unlike SSN numbers. Often, people get confused about them, because both of them come under Tax ID numbers and are issued for the same purpose. Keep in mind that the Social Security Numbers are issued by the Social Security Authority while the ITIN numbers are issued by Internal Revenue Service.

SSNs are usually issued to the locals, residents or citizens by the SSA. Anyone who is eligible and requires an SSN number, they would need to fill the form SS-5. On the other hand, those who want ITIN number, and are trying to know how to obtain an ITIN, they will need to fill the form W-7. Moreover, one should know that obtaining an ITIN number provides you evidence that you are a part of the taxpaying society, but it does not allow you to work locally.

2.    Your ITIN Will Get Expired

Considering how to obtain an ITIN, individuals must keep in mind that the ITIN numbers do get expired as they have an expiry date. The law of for the ITIN number has been revised, so the new ITINs are now issued for at least 5 years. However, previously the time period was indefinite. Just like other things and tax numbers, ITINs also get expired and will not serve the tax purpose for longer once the validity date expires.

If you want to learn about how to obtain an ITIN number, you also need to keep in consideration that you have to renew your ITIN number as soon as it gets expired. Besides, individuals should also make arrangements and preparations before it gets expired. Making arrangements beforehand will reduce the chances of incorrect documentation and you can submit them as soon as it expires.

When the ITIN number nears its expiry, the IRS authority will be all set to give you, your new ITIN number. Renewal should be done before any claim arises and will help you ensure about your legitimate purpose.

3.    You Need Not Worry About the Safety of Data

People trying to explore how to obtain an ITIN often are concerned about the safety of their data. Usually, when one submits all their information to have an ITIN number, individuals often worry about their data and information. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a respectable and reputable authority of the United States. When your information is in their hands, you need not worry about the safety of the data.

Furthermore, they ensure to keep it discrete, and prohibit sharing it with other agencies; even if they ask for it. Many individuals desire to keep their immigration status confidential from the police. In case, you want to release your information, you can ask for it without having to face any consequences. The IRS only demands you to file taxes promptly, and when you are doing it, the IRS has no issues.

4.    Some Other Individuals Also Require Having an ITIN Number

Most of the people who are worried about how to obtain an ITIN number, should not only show that they have started a business or are on job in the United States. Such people may also include their dependants. A group of students and teachers who are visiting the United States, may require filing tax returns for their short period of stay, for this they will need ITIN number.

Moreover, residents who require investing in properties in the United States, are also not eligible for SSN number and will have to file taxes to invest in the property, this is why ITIN number is important for them too.

Here’s How to Obtain an ITIN Number

After understanding the definition, purpose, need and characteristics of the ITIN numbers, you may now require knowing how to obtain an ITIN. No doubt, dealing with the documentation work and legal requirements is a bit tricky, but such complex matters can be handled well when a competent lawyer or consultant is with you. Legalities can be very complex and complicated, which is why you need to read the process of how to obtain an ITIN carefully. Here are some steps that you must follow.

  • Step # 1: Firstly, you must find the latest Form W-7 as per the modifications in the law by the Internal Revenue Service
  • Step # 2: In order to apply, you will have to fill the application for the IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, with the help of a lawyer
  • Step # 3: You should attach the genuine federal income tax return (until you meet the requirements for the exception)
  • Step # 4: Do not forget to attach the copies by foreign status and issuing agency with the proof of identity
  • Step # 5: You must send your federal return forms to the IRS ITIN Operations via mail

Some Documents You Require To Obtain ITIN Number

Legalities become tough because it involves several complex documents. So all those who want to know how to obtain an ITIN, they should consider the documents too. There is a set of requirements that everyone should understand.

There are pre-requisite documents which you will need to obtain an ITIN number. Check out these 14 documents which will help you in obtaining the ITIN number.

  1. Form W-7
  2. Photo identification of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  3. Passport (stand alone document)
  4. US Department of States’ Visa
  5. US Military Identification Card
  6. US Driver’s License
  7. Foreign Driving License
  8. US State Identification Card
  9. Foreign Military Identification Card
  10. National Identification Card
  11. Civil Birth Certificate
  12. Foreign Voter’s Registration Card
  13. School Records (only for dependents under 14 years of age and 18 years of age in case of student)
  14. Medical Records (only for dependents under 14 years of age and 18 years of age in case of student)

How to Obtain an ITIN Number – Consider Alternative Ways Too!

Those who already know how to obtain an ITIN using Form W-7, they may also want to know how to obtain an ITIN using other ways. While one of the most reliable and common ways to obtain an ITIN is filling Form W-7, there are some alternate ways too which may seem easier to others. These alternate methods also require documentation and certain legalities too. In order to know how to obtain an ITIN, check out the alternative methods below.

·      You Can Get Your ITIN Number via Acceptance Agent

Acceptance agents are the individuals who are responsible to review and see all the documents and forms you have filled. They can also be a source of applying for your ITIN number on your behalf. After ensuring that the application and forms are filled correctly, they will ensure for a seamless application process. In order to know more about how to obtain an ITIN number through acceptance agents, you should keep in mind that you need to register yourself over here to obtain ITIN number.

·      You Can Get ITIN Number in Person

Apart from mailing the Form W-7, you can even obtain your ITIN number in person. Those individuals who want to know how to obtain an ITIN in person, they should know that the IRS runs several Taxpayer Assistance Centers to provide them with an ITIN number. However, the procedure is almost similar but you just need to fill and attach the form and send it to the Taxpayer Assistance Center near you.

In order to know the details about how to obtain an ITIN in person, you can call the IRS office. By visiting this link, you can check out the nearest locations for the Taxpayer Assistance Centers. These centers have consultants who will help you in applying for the ITIN number.

·      You Can Get ITIN Number via Mail

Out of all the alternate methods of how to obtain an ITIN number, the most preferred way to get an ITIN number is via mail. Usually, people will consider this procedure because it is the easiest as you just need to fill the form properly. Though, the form is a bit complicated and complex, therefore, you must try to take guidance from your local lawyer. What you need to do is, collect all the documents, fill out the form properly and simply send it to the following mailing address.

Mailing Address

Internal Revenue Service

ITIN Operation

P.O. Box 149342

Austin, TX 78714-9342

The above mailing address is for those who are mailing via United States’ postal services. But there is another mailing address for the those who are using postal services such as FedEx and DHL. Check it out below.

Internal Revenue Service

ITIN Operation

Mail Stop 6090-AUSC

3651 S. Interregional, Hwy 35

Austin, TX 78741-0000


Now that you know how to obtain an ITIN number using alternative methods as well as Form W-7, you just have to ensure that all your documentation has been filled genuinely and properly. The significance of ITIN number will further give you more understanding for the ITIN number, which leads to our next section.

Significance of ITIN Number

The importance of ITIN cannot be ignored. Obtaining an ITIN number may help you in several ways, but remember it is not like SSN numbers. It has several benefits for the children, dependents and principal investor. Check out the elements below and see how it is worthy for you.

  • If you are a dependent, you can open a bank account in the United States with it
  • You can have mortgage loans on acquiring an ITIN number
  • You can claim to the dependents in the United States
  • ITIN number is the way for the personal identification number in order to file federal tax returns
  • Spouses and children can file tax returns with ease using ITIN number

Aside from the complicated procedure and course of action for acquiring an ITIN number, now you may have understood the definition, need, purpose, requirements, documentation, associated benefits, and of course the alternate ways of how to obtain an ITIN number. Obtaining an ITIN number is as important for residents or non-residents, as a passport. Now since you know the entire procedure, you can make an informed decision. Good luck!

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