ITIN Application: A Guide To Getting an ITIN Number

Camino Financial21 Feb 2024
ITIN Application: A Guide To Getting an ITIN Number
Understanding the ITIN application process is critical to ensuring compliance and unlocking a range of opportunities within the US tax system. If you need an ITIN to meet your tax obligations, you've come to the right place. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of obtaining, shedding light on its benefits, requirements, and frequently asked questions.
Table of Contents
1. What is an ITIN number?
2. What is an ITIN application?
3. When should you apply for an ITIN?
4. ITIN application requirements
5. How to get an ITIN number: 5 steps
6. Benefits of having an ITIN
7. How to check if an ITIN expired
8. How do I file taxes with an ITIN?
9. FAQs

What Is An ITIN Number?

An ITIN, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a nine-digit account number (just like a social security number) that you must request only through the IRS. It is available to people who are not eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN) and need to file a US tax return. The IRS issues ITINs regardless of immigration status since both residents and foreigners have the tax obligation to file returns and tax payments. In other words, it allows undocumented immigrants with no social security number to file their tax returns to comply with federal and state tax laws. Most importantly, it allows undocumented immigrants to create a business entity to earn income in the US and receive business licenses. This is crucial if you want your small business to be thriving.

What Is An ITIN Application?

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Application is a formal request to the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to assign an ITIN. The application document you need to complete is officially known as Form W-7, "Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number." In this form, the applicant provides personal information such as name, mailing address, foreign address, birth information, and the reason for applying. Accompanying this form, applicants must also provide documentation to verify their identity and foreign status.

Do I Have To Pay A Fee For Getting A Taxpayer Identification Number?

Applying for an ITIN is free! The cost of applying is zero if you make the process yourself. On the other hand, some agents will do the whole process for you, but they do charge a fee. How much they charge will depend on the agent.

When Should You Apply For An ITIN?

If you are not eligible for a Social Security Number, you may need to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number instead. Apply for an ITIN if you:
  • require to file a federal tax return but do not have an SSN
  • have a filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code
  • file a joint tax return with your spouse who does not have an SSN (but you do)
  • have investment income (such as interest, dividends, capital gains, etc.) for which you need to file a tax return
  • are claiming a tax refund based on treaties
  • want to claim certain tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or the child tax credit
  • are nonresident aliens who require to file a return for estate or gift taxes
  • are a nonresident alien student, professor, or researcher

ITIN Application Requirements

Who Can Apply For An ITIN Number?

You may need an ITIN number if you are a nonresident alien:
  • required to file a US tax return
  • who is filing a US return as a joint filer with a US citizen or resident spouse
  • claiming a tax treaty benefit
  • that is, a student, professor, or researcher filing a US return
A dependent or spouse of a:
  • US citizen/resident alien
  • a nonresident alien visa holder
  • or a US resident alien (based on days present in the US) filing a return with a US citizen or resident spouse.

What Documents Do You Need For An ITIN

  • a valid form of ID
    • identification card
    • driver's license from the US or your country of origin passport
    • an official birth certificate for children under 18
    • ID Card of a US state, visa, American or foreign military card.
  • form W-7
  • your current federal tax return

How To Get An ITIN Number: 5 Steps

If you wonder how to file for an ITIN number, we will explain all you need to do for the application step by step.

Fill Out The IRS Form W7

To start, you will use a Form W7 ITIN application ("Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number" ): Follow the W-7 form instructions to avoid errors. You must complete all the information requested in the form. If this is the first time you request the ITIN, you must accompany this document with others who may specify the application form, depending on your case.

Include Your Federal Income Tax Return

You need to apply for an ITIN to be able to file a tax return as an immigrant in the US. Luckily, you can process both at the same time. When you are ready to file your tax return, first complete Form W-7 as indicated above, then attach your tax return with your application. If you qualify for one of the exceptions and do not need to file a tax return, send only your application form and the required documents to prove that you meet the requirements of that exception.

Verify Your Identity

To complete your application, you must include original documents or certificates that prove your identity as a foreigner, such as those mentioned in Step 1. Checking the identity is essential for the IRS because there's always the risk that some people provide false data to obtain the ITIN. You must comply with all requirements to be eligible to get it.

Submit Your Application

You can mail your ITIN number application or hand it in person. Since your tax return is only an attachment to your application, you should not send these two documents to the address indicated on Forms 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. Instead, you must send your tax return, your Form W-7, and your proof of identity to this address:
Internal Revenue Service Austin Service Center ITIN Operation P.O. Box 149342 Austin, TX 78714-9342
If you want to hand in your application documents in person, you can go to any Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). There, you also can verify the original documents and the certified copies. In the TAC, the IRS will return the IRS application documents to you immediately. Remember that the service provided in these centers is by appointment: you can program it by calling your local TAC.
You can’t submit an ITIN application online.

Wait For The ITIN To Arrive

One of the most frequent questions is, "How long does ITIN take to arrive?" If all the documentation is in order and complete, the time is six weeks.

How To Check My ITIN Status Online

Maybe it's been six weeks, and your ITIN number hasn't arrived. If so, call the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040 to ask about your ITIN application status. And an agent will help you with the information about your application. Remember: You cannot apply for an ITIN online; you can't check if it's ready through the web. Read about what things you can do with an ITIN.

How Long Does It Take To Get An ITIN?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can issue an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) within six weeks if you apply correctly and provide all the necessary documentation. However, processing times may vary depending on the time of year and the IRS' workload. You can check the status of your application online or by calling the IRS. If you need your ITIN faster, you can request expedited processing when you submit your application. You will need to provide proof of why you need your ITIN quickly. The IRS may take up to two weeks to process an expedited request.

Benefits Of Having An ITIN

You Can Pay Taxes

Having an ITIN number is a necessary tool if you have to file tax returns. Without this number, you don't meet the requirements to file a tax return. This can have profound legal implications: therefore, if you want to declare taxes and don't have a social security number or an ITIN, you must obtain social security as possible.

You Can Open A Bank Account

Although this does not apply to all US states, an ITIN number can facilitate opening an account at several banks. This way, you can enjoy the advantages of an account, such as saving and starting a business if you are not eligible for an SSN from the Social Security Administration. Here is a guide on How to open a bank account without an SSN.

You Can Build A Credit History

You can apply for loans and credit cards with ITIN number. With this, you can establish a credit history that will benefit you in the future. With your ITIN, you can also apply for a mortgage loan and ultimately comply with some laws of the United States.

You Can Apply For A Business Loan

Keep in mind that most lenders will require a Social Security Number when you apply for a business ITIN loan. But with some lenders, you could get business loans even if you only have an ITIN. A small business loan can help you grow your business and empower you to keep building generational wealth for your family.

How To Check If An ITIN Expired

Do ITINs Expire?

The IRS policy states that Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers will expire if not used on a federal tax return for five consecutive years. In other words, the IRS will not deactivate your ITIN if you have been using it on at least one tax return in the past five years, and it will remain in effect as long as you continue using it to file US tax returns. This policy applies to any ITIN, and its purpose is to ensure that anyone who legitimately uses an ITIN for tax purposes can continue to do so. Discover here if you have to renew your ITIN

Do I Need To Renew My ITIN?

You might need to change an expired ITIN in a few different situations.
  • One is if it's been more than five years since you last used it on a tax return.
  • Another is if the IRS has issued you a new Social Security number
  • And finally, if the information on your ITIN number has changed (for example, if you got married and changed your name).

How To Renew My ITIN Number

You can easily reapply using W-7 Form and follow the abovementioned process if you must activate your ITIN and file a federal tax return. Remember that attached to the ITIN application form, you must submit all the required documents again.

How Long Does It Take To Renew An ITIN?

It can take up to 9 weeks to renew an ITIN. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will need time to process the renewal application and verify the applicant's identity and eligibility.

How Do I File Taxes With An ITIN?

Gather Your Tax Documents

Collect all the necessary tax documents, including W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and any other documents that show your income and deductions.

Obtain The Appropriate Tax Forms

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. Determine which form is appropriate for your situation or consult a tax professional for guidance.

Complete The Tax Return

Fill out the tax form, providing accurate information about your income, deductions, and credits. Follow the instructions provided with the form to ensure you include all necessary details.

Include Your ITIN On The Tax Return

Write your ITIN in the space provided on the tax form.

Attach Supporting Documents

If required, include any additional forms or schedules that support your tax return, such as Schedule C for self-employment income or Schedule A for itemized deductions. Ensure all documents are properly organized and attached to your tax return.

Double-Check Your Return

Review your completed tax return for accuracy, ensuring that all the information is correct. Mistakes or missing information can lead to processing delays or potential penalties.

Sign And Date Your Return

Once you have reviewed your tax return and verified its accuracy, sign and date it. If you are filing a joint return, you and your spouse must sign.

Submit Your Tax Return

Mail your tax return and any required attachments and supporting documents to the appropriate IRS address. The address varies depending on your location, so refer to the instructions provided with the tax form or consult the IRS website for the correct mailing address.

Keep Copies For Your Records

Make copies of all the documents you are submitting and keep them for your records. This will help if you need to reference them in the future or in case of any discrepancies or audits.


What do I need to get an ITIN number?

The Internal Revenue Service IRS issues ITINs. If you have a foreign status, you must submit your documents to the IRS following the simple steps we provide above.

Where to send the ITIN application?

Send your application to the following address: Internal Revenue Service Austin Service Center ITIN Operation P.O. Box 149342 Austin, TX 78714-9342

Can I apply for an ITIN online?

No, it is not possible to submit an ITIN application online. You require to mail your ITIN application documents to the IRS.

How to apply for an ITIN?

  1. Fill out the W-7 form.
  2. Include your tax return.
  3. Certificate your identity.
  4. Wait around six weeks.

How long does it take to get an ITIN number?

The estimated time is six weeks if all your application documents are in order.

How can I get an ITIN number quickly?

You can't get an ITIN number quickly. It takes several weeks to process the application and receive the number. However, you can expedite the process by submitting all of the required documentation and following the instructions carefully.

Can I get an ITIN number online?

You can't get an ITIN number online, but you can apply for one by mail or directly at the IRS taxpayer assistance center.

How much does it cost to get an ITIN number?

ITIN numbers are free. To get an ITIN number, you must complete IRS Form W-7 and submit it with documentation proving your identity and foreign status.

Can you work with an ITIN number?

An ITIN is for federal tax reporting only and is not valid for employment or social security purposes.

How can I get my ITIN number fast?

To obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) quickly, you can follow these steps:
  • determine your eligibility
  • complete the W-7 form
  • gather required documentation
  • submit your application
  • follow up on your application

Is it possible to apply for an ITIN number as an illegal resident?

You can apply for an ITIN number even if you are an illegal immigrant. It's important to note that an ITIN number is not a visa or a work permit. It is simply a tax identification number that allows you to file tax returns and receive certain tax benefits.

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