Publication 4757: Individual Taxpayer Identification Number - ITIN

Publication 4757 (Rev. 10-2023), issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), explains Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) and who needs them to file U.S. tax returns. This publication is a valuable resource for anyone who is not eligible for a Social Security number (SSN) but still has tax filing obligations in the United States.

What is an ITIN?

An ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the IRS to individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number (SSN) but still need to file a U.S. federal tax return. It is not a substitute for an SSN and does not provide eligibility for Social Security benefits.

Who Needs an ITIN?

You may need an ITIN if you are a resident alien filing a U.S. tax return, a nonresident alien with a filing requirement under the Internal Revenue Code, or you need to file a U.S. tax return to claim a tax treaty benefit. Here are some specific examples:

  • You are a resident alien filing a joint tax return with a spouse who has an SSN.
  • You are a nonresident alien student with income from wages, scholarships, or other sources in the U.S.
  • You are a dependent of a U.S. citizen or resident alien and you qualify someone for the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

How do I apply for an ITIN?

Step 1: Complete Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

Step 2: Gather required documents to prove your identity and foreign status (e.g., passport, visa).

Step 3: Submit the application packet with a valid U.S. federal tax return (exceptions apply) to an authorized IRS Acceptance Agent or by mail.

How long does it take to get an ITIN?

Processing times can vary, but it typically takes several weeks to receive an ITIN by mail.

Does my ITIN ever expire?

Yes, ITINs expire if not used on a U.S. federal tax return at least once in three consecutive years. ITINs with specific middle digits (as outlined by the IRS) have also recently expired. You can renew an expired ITIN by submitting a new Form W-7 with required documents.