What is an ITIN?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses certain tax numbers to uniquely identify individuals. One of these tax processing numbers is the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) issued by the IRS. The IRS issues ITINs 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).
What is an ITIN used for?
IRS issues ITINs 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. They 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. ITINs do not serve any purpose other than federal tax reporting.
Is an ITIN required?
Based on the IRS Guidance an ITIN is required if:
(1) You do not have an SSN and are not eligible to obtain one, and
(2) You have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal tax return, and
(3) You are in one of the following categories:
● Nonresident alien who is required to file a U.S. tax return
● U.S. resident alien who is (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return
● Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien
● Dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder
● Nonresident alien claiming a tax treaty benefit
● Nonresident alien student, professor or researcher filing a U.S. tax return or claiming an exception
If so, then you must apply for an ITIN. Regarding the application process, you can find more information here.