Application for IRS Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) – Form W-7 FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
•A nonresident alien individual eligible to get the benefit of reduced withholding under an income tax treaty (see Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities).
•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. For information about the substantial presence test, see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
•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. To determine if an alien individual is eligible to be claimed as a dependent on a U.S. tax return, see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, and Publication 519.
•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.
There are exceptions to the requirement to include a U.S. tax return with the Form W-7. For example, if you are a nonresident alien individual eligible to get the benefit of reduced withholding under an income tax treaty, you can apply for an ITIN without having to attach a federal income tax return. For a complete list of exceptions to the requirement to attach an income tax return, refer to the Exceptions Tables in the Instructions for Form W-7 (PDF).
Also, per the Exceptions Tables in the Instructions for Form W-7 (PDF), specifically Exception 1(d), Third Party Withholding on Passive Income, individuals who are receiving royalty distributions during the current tax year and are required to provide an ITIN to the withholding agent for the purposes of tax withholding and/or reporting requirements, must submit a signed letter or document from the withholding agent verifying that an ITIN is required to make distributions during the current tax year that are subject to IRS information reporting or federal tax withholding. For a sample signed letter, see Sample Letter from Withholding Agent in Publication 1915, Understanding Your IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Additionally, a nonresident alien heir or beneficiary who wishes to claim applicable reduced rates of U.S. federal income tax on distributions from the estate under a tax treaty should file with the executor of the estate a Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding (PDF), which must provide the individual’s tax identification number. Please refer to Income Tax Return of an Estate—Form 1041 in Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators. The Form W-8BEN is not filed with the IRS.
If the heir or beneficiary does not have a social security number, he/she must apply for an ITIN from the IRS. Please refer to Form W-7 and Instructions for information on applying for an ITIN.
Under these new procedures, Forms W-7 must include original documentation such as passports and birth certificates, or copies of these documents certified by the issuing agency. For more details, refer to IRS Implements Changes to ITIN Application Requirement.