Themes/Topics: Entrepreneurship & Freelancing
Geography: California, National
Audience: Ally, Educator, Undocumented Youth
People who are ineligible for a Social Security number can apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), regardless of immigration status. With an ITIN, you can report your earnings to the Internal Revenue Service, open interest-bearing bank accounts with certain banks, and conduct business in the United States. Find out how to apply, renew, and use an ITIN.
For more information about the ITIN, please visit the National Immigraiton Law Center (resources are available in Spanish).
To find a local organization that can help resolve a tax issue, visit the IRS’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC) interactive map.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can undocumented individuals apply for an ITIN?
Yes. Any individual not eligible for a SSN may apply and file for an ITIN.
How do I apply to get an ITIN?
Are ITINs valid for identification?
No. ITINs are not valid identification outside the federal tax system. Since ITINs are strictly for tax processing, the IRS does not apply the same standards as agencies that provide genuine identity certification (e.g. state IDs/driver’s license, passports, green cards, etc.).
Can I open a bank account with an ITIN?
Yes. Some banks will accept the ITIN instead of the SSN. However, you still need to provide some form of identification. We suggest calling or visiting your local bank or credit union to ensure they accept the ITIN and inquire about the types of ID they accept.
Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo and Capital One are some of the banks that accept ITINs.
Do ITINs enable someone to work legally?
No. ITINs are for federal income tax purposes only. Getting an ITIN does not change your immigration status or your authorization to work in the United States.
Can ITINs be used as proof of identification to obtain a state driver’s license?
No. ITINs are not valid for identification outside the federal tax system. However, some states may accept the ITIN as part of the driver’s licence application or verification of residency.
Who should renew their ITIN?
Anyone who has not used their ITIN on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years should renew. All ITINs issued before 2013 will begin expiring this year based on a rolling schedule. You will be notified via postal mail (using the address on your most recent income tax form on which the ITIN appears) if your ITIN is expiring.
When does renewal of ITINs begin?
January 1, 2017.
Which ITINs are expiring?
Individuals who hold ITINs with middle digits of 78 and 79 (e.g. 9NN-78-NNNN). The IRS began sending Letter 5821 to taxpayers with these expiring ITINs in Summer 2016.
When may I renew my ITIN?
Taxpayers whose ITINs will expire on January 1, 2017 can begin the renewal process beginning October 1, 2016.
How do I renew my ITIN?
Complete your federal tax return, complete W-7 form and provide original documentation (or certified copies of the documentation from the issuing agency) required to support the information provided on Form W-7.
Should I apply or renew an ITIN if I have a valid SSN?
No. Any person who applied for and received an SSN will no longer be eligible for an ITIN, since his/her SSN remains valid, even if his/her work authorization expires.
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Should I apply or renew an ITIN if I am a DACA recipient?
No. If you obtained DACA and used it to get a SSN you should not continue to use or renew your ITIN. Regardless of the possible termination of DACA, the assigned SSN will remain your SSN even if the individual’s work authorization terminates.