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How to Obtain an ITIN for Tax Filing in the US

For individuals in the United States who are not eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN), obtaining an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a requirement for filing taxes and complying with tax obligations in the U.S.   An ITIN is a unique nine-digit tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are required to file taxes, but are ineligible for an SSN.  If you are a non-resident alien living in the U.S. and do not have your SSN, you may need an ITIN to file for taxes.

To obtain an ITIN, you have to complete an application. You can download this application form from the IRS website or obtain it from an IRS office.  The next step is attaching specific documents for your identification, such as passports, visas, birth certificates, and other official identification documents along with your ITIN application.  Once you have filled out the ITIN application and gathered your supporting documents, you can submit your application to the IRS by mail.  The IRS will process your ITIN application and, upon approval, issue you a nine-digit ITIN. This process typically takes several weeks, so applying for the ITIN before your tax filing deadline is important.  With your ITIN in hand, you can now file your taxes using the appropriate tax forms.  You may also be able to fine the application in person at designated IRS offices.

Filing taxes is not just a financial responsibility.  It is sometimes important to maintain your legal status in the U.S.  Failure to do so may jeopardize your visa status, potentially leading to denial of another immigrant/nonimmigrant visa application.  If you plan to apply for a change of status, a green card, or citizenship in the future, your tax history will be considered.  A positive record can improve your chances of success during these processes, otherwise, non-compliance with tax laws may raise suspicions and lead to legal actions that could put your legal status at risk.

Various visa categories come with specific tax responsibilities, so understanding and meeting these requirements is important for staying legally in the U.S.  To navigate the complexities of U.S. tax laws as a non-resident alien, you may want to consult an immigration attorney.  The attorneys at Tanner Law Offices can assist you with your case process or need more information.  Please contact our office at 717-836-0471 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.