Seaford Management
Serving Seaford, Delaware and the surrounding area since 2000

ITIN

How to get an ITIN number (or EIN number)


There are two kinds of individual tax identification numbers. Both numbers have the same format: 000-00-0000.The first type of individual tax number is the Social Security Number. These are available to all United States citizens, permanent resident aliens and temporary residents authorized to work through a work permit. The second type of individual tax number is the ITIN.  The term “ITIN” stands for Individual Tax Identification Number. Any person who needs a tax identification number but is not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number can apply for an ITIN. An ITIN is easy to identify, as it always begins with the number “9.” An ITIN does not qualify a person to legally work in the United States, nor does it provide eligibility or access to Social Security benefits. ITINs are issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The following people should utilize an ITIN:

  • Foreign nationals who do not qualify for Social Security Numbers but who have U.S. federal tax reporting requirements
  • Non-resident aliens not eligible for a Social Security Number who are required to file a United States tax return in order to claim a tax refund
  • Resident aliens filing a U.S. tax return
  • Dependents or spouses of U.S. citizens or resident aliens who have U.S. federal tax reporting requirements
  • Dependents or spouses of a non-resident alien visa holder who have U.S tax reporting requirements

The ITIN program has not been around for very long. The program began around 1996. It was set up so individuals without Social Security Numbers could file taxes and abide by U.S. tax laws. Remember—obtaining an ITIN does not grant you the right to work and receive income in the United States, and it has nothing to do with Social Security, or the right to receive Social Security benefits.

If your U.S. resident status fits one of the above categories, you will need an ITIN in order to file income taxes.  Unlike a joint bank account, where two people can share the same account number, each person listed on a tax form must have his/her own ITIN. If you have any dependents, make sure each of them also has an ITIN. Since they are listed on the tax form, the government needs to ensure that only one taxpayer is claiming that person as a dependent.

There are additional situations in which you may need an ITIN, and they are all tax-related. For example, if you open a business bank account, the bank must have the tax identification number for your business. The bank may also require the ITIN of any other people connected to the business bank account.

Since I have outlined a few of the ways in which an ITIN is utilized, it makes sense to discuss the ways in which an ITIN can never be used. Remember that “ITIN” stands for Individual Tax Identification Number. The key here is tax identification. The only manner in which the United States government is allowed to utilize an ITIN number is for tax purposes. It is not to be used by other United States agencies, such as the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The U.S. government and the IRS just want to be certain that anyone who earns money abides by the same set of rules in regard to income taxes.

If you do have an ITIN, be very careful and make sure you file your annual income taxes. Your ITIN will expire if it is not used on a federal income tax form for five (5) consecutive years.

There was a brief period of time, from 2012 to 2014, when ITIN numbers with 5-year expiration dates were issued. Check your paperwork to ensure you were not issued one of the ITIN numbers that is only valid for five years. The IRS revised this rule, however, and it now states the ITIN will only expire if you do not file taxes for five years in a row.

Get your ITIN 

As a Certifying Acceptance Agent with the IRS, Seaford Management can process the paperwork to obtain an ITIN for you. Call us at (302) 990-9003 or email ITIN@seafordmanagement.com with questions and for pricing information. We offer services in both English and Spanish.

 

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