You need an ITIN if you are not eligible to get a social security number but must provide a taxpayer identification number on a U.S. tax return or information return. Examples include the following:
- A nonresident alien individual eligible to get the benefit of reduced withholding under an income tax treaty.
- A nonresident alien individual not eligible for an SSN who is required to file a U.S. tax return or who is filing a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund.
- A nonresident alien individual not eligible for an SSN who elects to file a joint U.S. tax return with a spouse who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
- A U.S. resident alien (based on the substantial presence test) who files a U.S. tax return but who is not eligible for an SSN.
- An alien spouse who is claimed as an exemption on a U.S. tax return but who is not eligible to get an SSN.
- An alien individual who is eligible to be claimed as a dependent on a U.S. tax return but who is not eligible to get an SSN.
- A nonresident alien student, professor, or researcher who is required to file a U.S. tax return but who is not eligible for an SSN, or who is claiming an exception to the tax return filing requirement.
- A dependent/spouse of a nonresident alien U.S. visa holder, who is not eligible for an SSN.
ITINs are for federal tax reporting only and are not intended to serve any other purpose. The 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 (SSNs).
An ITIN does not provide authorization to work in the United States or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.