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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 1-800-772-1213. You can also 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.
F-1 and M-1 visa holders.(p25)
If you are an F-1 or M-1 student, you must also show your Form I-20. For more information, see SSA Pub. 05-10181, available online at
J-1 visa holders. (p25)
If you are a J-1 exchange visitor, you will also need to show your Form DS-2019. For more information, see SSA Pub. 05-10107, available online at

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 seven weeks. If you have not received your ITIN or other correspondence seven weeks after applying, call the IRS toll-free number at 1-800-829-1040 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

Employer identification number (EIN).(p25)

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.