Immigrants and the Individual Tax Identification Number

The ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) is a tax related number issued by the IRS,Internal Revenue Service (Federal taxing authority in the United States) that can be used for certain purposes when the applicant cannot or is not allowed to have a social security number. While the ITIN is generally not used by other Government Offices, one should be aware of the characteristics of the ITIN.

Prior to applying for an ITIN or using one, individuals should contact a tax-professional for specific advice. These are a few of the characteristics of the ITIN;

1. They do not allow a person to be in the United States legally or authorize the person to work legally.
2. They DO allow a person to open a bank account in the United States and even have an interest bearing account.
3. In some states, individuals MAY use their ITIN for the purpose of applying for and obtaining state identification documents, including driver’s licenses and drivers permits.
4. A person may file a tax return with the number and use the filing as part of the proof of legal residency in the United States.

Besides these individuals the following persons may have an interest in applying and receiving at ITIN:
a. Dependents or spouses of persons present in the United States on a Non-immigrant visa
b. Dependents or spouses of US citizens or permanent residents
c. Non-resident individuals who are foreign nationals who receives taxable income from investments in the United States
d. Certain foreign students

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