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Publication 519

Identification Number(p25)

A taxpayer identification number must be furnished on returns, statements, and other tax-related documents. For an individual, this is a social security number (SSN). If you do not have and are not eligible to get an SSN, you must apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). An employer identification number (EIN) is required if you are engaged in a trade or business as a sole proprietor and have employees or a qualified retirement plan.
You must furnish a taxpayer identification number if you are:

Social security number (SSN). (p25)

Generally, you can get an SSN if you have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence or under other immigration categories that authorize U.S. employment.
To apply for this number, get Form SS-5 from your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office or call the SSA at 800-772-1213. You also can download Form SS-5 from the SSA's website at You must visit an SSA office in person and submit your Form SS-5 along with original documentation showing your age, identity, immigration status, and authority to work in the United States. Generally, you will receive your card about 2 weeks after the SSA has all of the necessary information.
International students.(p25)
If you have an F-1, M-1, or J-1 visa, see SSA Pub. 05-10181, available online at, for more information about the documents you must provide to prove your immigrant status.

Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).(p25)

If you do not have and are not eligible to get an SSN, you must apply for an ITIN. For details on how to do so, see Form W-7 and its instructions.
If you qualify for an ITIN and your application is complete, you will receive a letter from the IRS assigning your tax identification number usually within 7 weeks. If you have not received your ITIN or other correspondence 7 weeks after applying, call the IRS toll-free number at 800-829-1040 to request the status of your application if you are in the United States. If you are outside the United States, call 267-941-1000 (not a toll-free number).
If you already have an ITIN, enter it wherever an SSN is required on your tax return.
An ITIN is for tax use only. It does not entitle you to social security benefits or change your employment or immigration status under U.S. law.
In addition to those aliens who are required to furnish a taxpayer identification number and are not eligible for an SSN, a Form W-7 must be filed for:
Additional information on obtaining an ITIN is available in the Instructions for Form W-7 and at
Expired ITIN.(p25)
Generally, ITINs issued after December 31, 2012, will remain in effect as long as the individual to whom the ITIN was issued files a tax return (or is included as a dependent on the tax return of another taxpayer) at least once in the last 3 consecutive tax years. Otherwise, the ITIN will expire at the end of the third consecutive tax year. All expired ITINs must be renewed before being used on a U.S. tax return.
Some ITINs must be renewed. (p26)
If you haven't used your ITIN on a federal tax return at least once in the last 3 years, or if your ITIN has the middle digits 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81, or 82 (9NN-73-NNNN), it expired at the end of 2018 and must be renewed if you need to file a federal tax return in 2019. You don't need to renew your ITIN if you don't need to file a federal tax return. You can find more information at
ITINs with middle digits 70, 71, 72, 78, 79, or 80 that expired in 2016 or 2017 also must be renewed if you need to file a tax return in 2019 and haven't already renewed the ITIN.
For more information, go to

Employer identification number (EIN).(p26)

An individual may use an SSN (or ITIN) for individual taxes and an EIN for business taxes. To apply for an EIN, file Form SS-4 with the IRS.