ITIN stands for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Many people who need to pay United States taxes but who do not have Social Security numbers should have ITINs. These numbers identify the taxpayers to the IRS.
Who Needs an ITIN?
ITINs are for people who do not have and are not eligible to have a Social Security number (SSN). In addition, you must need to provide someone with a federal tax identification number (such as for employment purposes) or need to file a federal tax return. Also, you must fall in one of the following categories of people:
- A nonresident who is required to file a U.S. tax return
- A U.S. resident who is filing a U.S. tax return because of how much time you spend in the United States
- A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen or resident
- A dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder
- A nonresident claiming a tax treaty benefit
- A nonresident student, professor, or researcher who is filing a U.S. tax return or claiming an exception
Why Do You Need an ITIN?
ITINs allow the IRS to process your taxes efficiently even though you do not have a Social Security number. Your immigration status as a resident or non-resident does not matter – you may still need an ITIN so that you can file taxes. If you do not have one and do not pay taxes that you owe, then the IRS may pursue you for back taxes and other penalties.
If you are not sure whether you need to file a U.S. tax return, then you should speak to a U.S. lawyer who is familiar with tax issues for non-citizens. Many people who own property in the United States, have business interests in the United States, or live here for a significant amount of the year need to file taxes. In addition, you may need to do some estate planning to prepare for future taxes assessed by the IRS on your estate.
Wondering about tax issues related to your non-citizen status? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.