Information about Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers

Authored By: Low Inncome Taxpayer Clinic Legal Aid Service of Collier County

What is an ITIN?
 

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service.  ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.  Individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return to receive an ITIN, unless they meet an exception.

What is an ITIN used for?

ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose. IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs).  An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Who needs an ITIN?

IRS issues ITINs to foreign nationals and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and do not qualify for SSNs. A non-resident alien individual not eligible for a SSN who is required to file a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund of tax under the provisions of a U.S. tax treaty needs an ITIN.

Other examples of individuals who need ITINs include:

  •    A nonresident alien required to file a U.S. tax return 
  •    A U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return 
  •    A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien
  •    A dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder

How do I know if I need an ITIN?

If you do not have a SSN and are not eligible to obtain a SSN, but you have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal income tax return, you must apply for an ITIN.  If you have an application for a SSN pending, do not file Form W-7.

How do I apply for an ITIN?

  • Use the latest revision of Form W-7 to apply

  •  Attach a valid federal income tax return

  • Unless you qualify for an exception, and include your original proof of identity or copies certified by issuing agency and foreign status documents.

Because you are filing your tax return as an attachment to your ITIN application, you SHOULD NOT mail your return to the address listed in the Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ instructions. Instead, send your return, Form W-7 and proof of identity and foreign status documents to:

     Internal Revenue Service
     Austin Service Center
     ITIN Operation
     P.O. Box 149342
     Austin, TX 78714-9342

When should I apply for an ITIN?
You should complete Form W-7 as soon as you are ready to file your federal income tax return, since you need to attach the return to your application.

If you meet one of the exceptions to the tax filing requirement, submit Form W-7, along with the documents that prove your identity and foreign status. You are also required to include supplemental documents to substantiate your qualification for the exception; as soon as possible after you determine that you are covered by that exception.

How can Legal Aid Service of Collier County (LAS) help?

LAS provide Controversy Resolution to income-eligible taxpayer of Collier County.  To be eligible the amount in controversy must NOT exceed $50,000 for any taxable year and your current income cannot exceed 250% of federal poverty guideline.

To find out if you are eligible, call us at

  • Naples Office                    (239) 775-4455
  • Immokalee Office              (239) 657-7442

Updated: November 16, 2017 

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