ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. Individuals who are not eligible for SSN, but who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number get an ITIN from the IRS. It is a nine-digit number that always starts with number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, example 921-73-2222.
v ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose.
v 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.
v An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.
v ITINs are not valid identification outside the tax system.
v Form W-7 is used to obtain an ITIN (only if Social security office notifies you that an SSN cannot be issued due to your visa status)
v Filled ITIN form along with Tax return (1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) with prepared return, & proof of identity documents to b sent to Internal Revenue Service, Austin Service Center, ITIN Operation, P.O. Box 149342, Austin, TX 78714-9342
v An alien individual cannot have both an ITIN and an SSN.
v IRS no longer accepts, and will not process, forms showing “SSA205c,” “applied for,” “NRA,” blanks, etc.
v IRS has approved 13 acceptable documents for ITIN issuance, (certified and notarized copies of 2 of the following documents are accepted)
o Unexpired Passport for Identity and Foreign status
o National identification card (must show photo, name, current address, date of birth, and expiration date)
o U.S. driver’s license
o Civil birth certificate
o Foreign driver’s license
o U.S. state identification card
o Foreign voter’s registration card
o U.S. military identification card
o Foreign military identification card
o U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification
o Medical records (dependents – under 14 years old only)
o School records (dependents and/or students – under 18 years old only)
Who needs an ITIN?
A non-resident alien individual not eligible for an 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. Examples of individuals who need ITINs include: Non-resident alien filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN, U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN, Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien, Dependent or spouse of a non-resident alien visa holder.
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 and do not need to file a return, submit Form W-7, along with the documents required to meet your purpose for needing an ITIN, as soon as possible after you determine that you are covered by that exception. You can apply for an ITIN any time during the year; however, if the tax return you attach to Form W-7 is filed after the return’s due date, you may owe interest and/or penalties. You should file your current year return by the April 15 deadline to avoid this.
Where can I get help with my ITIN application?
v You may call the IRS directly OR
v Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our tax professionals will assist you.
H4 ITIN – We have seen real life cases where our client has come to US on a H1 visa, and later his wife come to the US on a H4 Visa. H4 visa is a non employment visa and SSN is not issued as per the SSA rules. Now can you claim her as a dependent on your tax return remains a big question!
The answer is no. You cannot claim your wife as a dependent on your resident 1040EZ, 1040A or 1040 unless –
1. You file a dual status return (as a resident & as a non resident)
a. Jointly – MFJ – you can claim your wife’s personal exemption of $ 3500 and her part of Standard deduction which is $ 5450 for 2008
b. Separately – MFS – No income to report on the Tax return
Now to file jointly under 1(a) as a Dual status return, you need to have an ITIN for her. The IRS requires that you wait until you file your tax return before applying for an ITIN.
The completed Tax return, duly filled W7 form (ITIN application form) along with notarized copy of your wife’s valid passport must be mailed to the IRS Austin, TX office. (NOTE – there is a risk of your ITIN application getting rejected if send copies of an expired Passport).
Processing of ITIN application –
· It depends when you’ve submitted the application. Submissions during the tax season could take upto 2-3 months.
· Submissions before January 15th may mean early approval – i.e. processing time of about 15-30 business days.
In the above example we have written about ITIN for dependent wife who is on H4, it may be noted that the same process applies for every dependent that you wish to add in your tax return as a dependent.
Notarization of US documents in India may be done by the US embassy located in Chennai. Refer the following link –