Overview and Expiration of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)

What is an ITIN?

An ITIN is a nine-digit Individual Identification Number issued by the IRS.  These numbers are issued to foreign nationals (both resident and nonresident aliens) who have a U.S. filing requirement and file a federal tax return.  These individuals are not authorized to work in the U.S.; they are not eligible to receive a Social Security number, and they do not qualify a dependent for Earned Income Tax Credit purposes. 

How Does a Taxpayer Get An ITIN?

The taxpayer must complete IRS Form W-7, IRS Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.  Form W-7 must be attached to the tax return for which the ITIN is required.  A tax return using an ITIN cannot be filed electronically in the first year that the ITIN is assigned.  Once the ITIN is assigned, the tax return for subsequent years can be e-filed.

The taxpayer must submit supporting documentation with the Form W-7.  The documents must not only confirm the taxpayer’s identity but must also prove his foreign status.  Original or certified copies of these documents must be submitted with Form W-7.  These supporting documents must be current and contain an expiration date.


Cathy Fisher

Common Cents Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation

Serving Henderson, NC, Buncombe County, Polk County, Transylvania County


P: 828-595-2835

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