What is an ITIN?

An ITIN, or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is a number used for tax processing that is issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The number is a nine-digit combination that will always begin with the number 9 and can range between 70-88 for the fourth and fifth number. As of April 12, 2011, the range of these two numbers was further extended to include values 90-92 along with 94-99 in the fourth and fifth positions so now for example 9XX-90-XXXX is possible.
The Internal Revenue Service will issue an ITIN to an individual who requires a United States TIN  but do not have one and are also not qualified to have a Social Security Number given from the Social Security Administration.
An ITIN is issued regardless of what immigration status an individual has since both nonresident aliens and resident aliens can have a United States reporting or filing requirement under the Internal Revenue Code. Any individuals have to have a filing requirement and must file a valid federal tax return in order to receive an ITIN, unless they come across a specific exception.
Purpose of an ITIN

An ITIN is used only for federal tax reporting and is not meant to serve any other purpose. The Internal Revenue Service issues these ITINs in order to help individuals more easily comply with the United States tax laws, and to also provide a way to efficiently account and process for all the tax returns and payments for those individual who are not eligible for Social Security Numbers. 
However, an ITIN does not make it legal to work in the United States nor does an ITIN provide any eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Who Should Use an ITIN?
The Internal Revenue Service issues the ITIN to foreign nationals along with other individuals who have federal tax reporting in the United States or have filing requirements even though they do not qualify for Social Security Numbers. A non-resident alien person who is not eligible for a SSN but is required to file a United States tax return in order to claim a tax refund under the provisions of a United States treaty requires an ITIN.
Other individuals who may need an ITIN include:
   • A nonresident alien who is required to file a United States tax return.
   • A United States resident alien who is filing a United States tax return.
   • A spouse or dependent of a United States citizen or resident alien.
   • A spouse or dependent of a nonresident alien who holds a visa.




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