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What is an ITIN?
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued to nonresident Aliens (NRA) by the Internal Revenue Service. It is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a range of 70-88 in the fourth and fifth digit. Effective April 12, 2011, the range was extended to include 900-70-0000 through 999-88-9999, 900-90-0000 through 999-92-9999 and 900-94-0000 through 999-99-9999. IRS issues ITIN’s to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
ITIN’s are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.
Individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return to receive an ITIN.
What is an ITIN used for?
ITIN’s are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose. IRS issues ITIN’s 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 (SSNs).
An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Who needs an ITIN?
IRS issues ITIN’s to foreign nationals and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and do not qualify for SSNs. A non-resident alien individual not eligible for a 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.
Other examples of individuals who need ITIN’s include:
- A nonresident alien required to file a U.S. tax return
- A U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return
- A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien
- A dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder
If you are being put on the UW’s payroll please ask your school’s divisional payroll coordinator for your taxpayer identification requirements.
If you already have obtained or applied for either an SSN or ITIN then you are not eligible for the other as both are U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number and a person is only allowed to have one of these numbers, never both.
How do I know if I need an ITIN?
If you do not have a SSN and are not eligible to obtain a SSN, but you have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal income tax return, you must apply for an ITIN.
If you have an application for a SSN pending, do not file Form W-7. Complete Form W-7 only if the Social Security Administration (SSA) notifies you that a SSN cannot be issued.
To obtain a SSN, see Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. To get Form SS-5 or to find out if you are eligible to obtain a SSN, go to Social Security Administration or contact a SSA office. By law, an alien individual cannot have both an ITIN and a SSN.
IRS processes returns showing SSNs or ITIN’s in the blanks where tax forms request SSNs. IRS no longer accepts, and will not process, forms showing “SSA205c,” “applied for,” “NRA,” blanks, etc.
Are ITINs valid for identification?
No. ITIN’s are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose.
How do I apply for an ITIN?
For Payroll Payments: If you are being put on payroll you can apply for the ITIN in person at Payroll Services and Benefits Services Office, 21 North Park Street, Suite 5101.
Applying through UW IRS ITIN Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA):
- UW-Madison Accounting Services does ITIN applications as a courtesy service to the university community to avoid having to send visitors to the local Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office as required by the IRS.
- Appointments are required if you are applying through the UW.
- No walk-in appointments.
- To set up an appointment please contact Jose A. Carus, Jr. (Tax Compliance Manager) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For the ITIN application appointment you will need to bring your (1) original passport, (2) printed copy of electronic I-94 plus Homeland Security stamp in passport or ESTA and Homeland Security stamp in passport, (3) I-20 or DS-2019 if on an F-1 or J-1 Visa status, and (4) letter from the paying department stating the type of payment you are receiving and the amount (Invitation, payroll appointment, or Fellowship/Scholarship Letter).
Special Note: Please note that the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) only allows the UW IRS ITIN Acceptance Agent (CAA) to apply for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for to people that we make payments to. The ITIN’s are only for tax reporting purposes so we can only assist you in applying for an ITIN if a payment is made by us or if you needs it for tax reporting purposes. If you need to apply for the ITIN for tax purposes, the original completed tax return must be submitted with the ITIN application.
Applying through the Local Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office Directly:
You can also apply for the ITIN at local Internal Revenue Service Office. See IRS Office Locator for more information.
Applying through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office via mail:
Use the latest revision of Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to apply. Attach a valid federal income tax return, unless you qualify for an exception, and include your original proof of identity or copies certified by issuing agency and foreign status documents.
Because you are filing your tax return as an attachment to your ITIN application, you should not mail your return to the address listed in the Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ instructions. Instead, send your return, Form W-7 and proof of identity and foreign status documents to:
Internal Revenue Service
Austin Service Center
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
You may also apply using the services of an IRS-authorized Acceptance Agent or visit some key IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in lieu of mailing your information to the IRS in Austin. Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) in the United States provide in-person help with ITIN applications on a walk-in or appointment basis. Applicants outside the United States should contact U.S. Tax Attachés in Beijing, Frankfurt, London, or Paris. The IRS’s ITIN Unit in Austin issues all numbers through the mail.