What is an ITIN? An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number. To receive an ITIN, individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return (unless they meet an exception). ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and not for any other purpose. An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit. IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers.
Many undocumented immigrants obtained ITIN’s in order to file tax returns with the IRS. However, there are misconceptions that having an ITIN gives individuals the right to live and work in the United States, obtain loans, and open bank accounts. We would like to caution readers that not only are these improper uses of the ITIN, but to be wary of immigration and tax consultants who charge individuals a fee to obtain an ITIN. The application for an ITIN is free of charge. For more information regarding ITIN’s, please visit http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96287,00.html.