An ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS that assists foreign taxpayers in filing a tax return. This includes resident and nonresident aliens, their spouses, and their dependents, who can apply for an ITIN if they are not eligible for a social security number.
Unlike many other forms of identification, an ITIN is solely used for tax purposes.
International taxpayers in the US are categorised by the IRS as a “nonresident aliens”. An alien is any individual who is not a US citizen or US national.
The main reasons for applying for an ITIN include the following:
- You need to file a US tax return (e.g. Form 1040 or 1040-NR)
- You are considered to have engaged in a trade or business in the US, and have received US-sourced income
- You are a Non-Resident Spouse or Dependent of a US Citizen or Resident
- You are making a claim for a US tax refund (e.g. reclaiming US taxes withheld on dividends or royalties)
- You have a US Bank or Investment account
- You have sold (or intend to sell) US Real Estate (please also note that we can assist with the notarisation of affidavits and warranty deeds of the transfer of US Real Estate and can provide a bespoke service to cover all aspects of your circumstances)
The process can be summarised as follows:
- If you are applying for an ITIN to file a tax return, you must attach your original, completed return to Form W-7.
- After the W-7 has been processed by the IRS, your return will be assigned an ITIN, and will then be processed.
- If you are outside of the US, it takes 9-11 weeks for the IRS to notify you in writing of your ITIN.