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FAQ > How do I know if I need an ITIN?

If you are an alien or otherwise do not qualify for a Social Security Number (SSN) and are filing a U.S. federal income tax return, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is most likely required. Anyone who is required to file a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) needs some kind of tax processing number. For individuals and families, this is either a Social Security Number or a Taxpayer's Personal Identification Number. An ITIN is used by anyone who is not eligible to obtain an SSN. To receive an ITIN, you must complete a W7 application.

People who will probably need an ITIN

There are many situations that require an ITIN. An ITIN is required if you are filing with the IRS and are not eligible for another taxpayer processing number. You need an ITIN if you are any of the following:

  • A nonresident alien who is filing a tax return with the U.S. IRS.
  • To U.S. resident alien who is filing a tax return with the U.S. IRS
  • A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • To a dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder

Only individuals need an ITIN. Businesses usually file taxes using an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Who doesn't need an ITIN

If you are not filing as an individual taxpayer, have an SSN, or you are eligible to obtain an SSN, you do not need an ITIN. Similarly, if you have a pending application for an SSN with the Social Security Administration, do not file a W7 application. Only submit your ITIN if the Social Security Administration notifies you that an SSN cannot be issued.

How to apply for an ITIN

Ordering an ITIN online is easy thanks to the convenient services of Before starting the process, review the instructions for the W7 form. If you are requesting a low exception, review the ITIN exception table before you apply. When you are ready, you can request an ITIN online.


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