Taxpayer Identification Numbers Required for all U.S. Returns

Taxpayer Identification Numbers - Image of man on phoneEffective for 1996 and future returns, the IRS will hold processing of all returns filed which do not have a proper Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for the taxpayer and all dependents on the return.

Social Security Number

For U.S. citizens and resident aliens, a valid Social Security Number (SSN) must be used. Persons who require a SSN must file form SS-5 with IRS to obtain a number. (Please note that applicants over 18 years of age applying for a SSN for the first time must attend in person and provide appropriate identification.)

A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen qualifies for United States citizenship even if the child is a resident of a foreign country and if the other parent is not a U.S. citizen. A SSN is required for all children born before December 1996.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

Persons not eligible for a Social Security Number (nonresident aliens and others not entitled to work in the United States) who file U.S. returns should apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) by filing form W-7. An application for an ITIN will not affect the individual’s current or future immigration status in the United States.

We can expedite the issuance of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). Any applicant for an ITIN must submit certain specified ORIGINAL identification proving identity and alien status, before an ITIN is issued. Please see below for the new rules respecting required identification.

Procedures for Obtaining an ITIN

The ITIN is for tax purposes only. It does not entitle the bearer to social security benefits, and creates no inference regarding immigration status or right to work in the United States. Any individual who is eligible to be legally employed in the United States should not apply for an ITIN, but must have an SSN.

You should know that:

  • The ITIN cannot be used to claim the earned income tax credit under section 32 of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • The possession of an ITIN does not change the applicant's immigration status or entitle the applicant to legal employment in the United States;
  • The ITIN does not take the place of an SSN or qualify the applicant for Social Security benefits;
  • If you or your family members obtain permanent resident alien (green card) status or otherwise become legally eligible to work in the United States, you may be eligible for an SSN;
  • If any applicant later becomes eligible for an SSN, the ITIN may no longer be used, and an SSN must be obtained from the Social Security  Administration;


Effective June 22, 2012, IRS has issued new rules for obtaining an ITIN.  Either an original passport or copy certified by the issuing agency must be presented with the W7 application.

To obtain a free Certified Copy of your Canadian passport, you may either:

a)  Walk into any Passport Canada Office with your current passport and request a Certified Copy.  The processing time is 5 days; or

b)  Mail your passport to:

Passport Canada
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Gatineau, Canada K1A 0G3

or by courier to:

Passport Canada
22 de Varennes Street
Gatineau, QC J8T 8R1

In order to obtain your ITIN we now require this certified passport copy to accompany your application.

What Identification is Required for an ITIN?

In order to file your application, you will need to prove your claims of alien status and identity. The following copies of documents CERTIFIED BY THE ISSUER  are required for this purpose.  PLEASE NOTE THAT NOTARIZED COPIES ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE:

  1. Passport or INS document establishing the non U.S. status and residence of the applicant; or
  2. Foreign birth record and one of the following, which must bear a photograph, has not expired, and is not older than three years:
    • Drivers license;
    • Identity Card;
    • Voters Registration Card;
    • School records;
    • Medical Records;
    • Marriage record;
    • Military registration card; and
  3. If the applicant is residing in the United States, please provide the U.S. visa or other proof of ineligibility for an SSN.

When the application is approved, you will obtain the ITIN on form 9844 from IRS.

Corporations and Other Entities

In the case of an EIN, normally required by a corporation or business entity doing business in the United States, a form SS-4 must be completed. In many cases an EIN is available over the telephone through the Tele-TIN program at certain IRS offices. As Certifying Acceptance Agents, we can apply for an EIN on your behalf, upon receipt of a Power of Attorney from you.