What is an ITIN number and how to get one

An ITIN number will allow you to open bank accounts, access financing, and generate credit history. Find out how to obtain it and take the first step towards legal and financial stability in the United States.

One of the biggest challenges when migrating to the United States is to formalize a financial identity that you build day by day with your work. To establish roots in the country of the American dream, if you do not have a Social Security Number and are not eligible to obtain one, is to apply for your ITIN number.

The purpose of having an ITIN number is to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws and pay of taxes. Although it is a way for the government to control the taxes of all the residents of the country, it also facilitates access to benefits such as opening bank accounts and the possibility of requesting credit. Next, we explain in detail.

What is the ITIN number?

The Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a number for tax processing. It is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is granted to people who do not meet the necessary requirements to access a Social Security number.

This policy was implemented in 1996, consists of nine digits, and is aimed at undocumented immigrants and their dependents. As well as immigrants with particular life circumstances, for example, survivors of domestic violence, people with a student visa, and with an employment visa.

Despite not being a mandatory procedure, paying taxes is a highly relevant aspect when applying for residency or citizenship. It is irrefutable proof of good moral character and good intentions before the authorities. Likewise, it can be used to demonstrate work history and physical presence in the United States. Obtaining the ITIN number for the payment of taxes is a sign of willingness to collaborate with the government and with the works that are carried out thanks to the contributions.

One of the greatest fears of undocumented people is that through their statements they will be identified and may be persecuted. This idea is completely wrong. The Internal Revenue Code states that the IRS is prohibited from sharing taxpayer information with other federal agencies unless it involves a criminal investigation.

Paying taxes is the best way to demonstrate your commitment to the United States, to work honestly, as well as the intention to add value and establish roots in the country.

How to apply for an ITIN number

The first step to apply for an ITIN number is to fill out Form W-7 (Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). You will need to enter personal information, including:

  • Name
  • Mailing address
  • Birth information
  • Miscellaneous information (documents presented, expiration dates)

Additionally, you will have to specify the reason why you submit the Form, the options are the following:

  • Non-resident alien required to obtain an ITIN in order to claim benefits from a tax treaty.
  • Nonresident alien filing a US federal income tax return.
  • US resident alien (based on the number of days present in the US) filing a US federal tax return.
  • Dependent of a US citizen/resident alien.
  • Spouse of a US citizen/resident alien.
  • Nonresident alien student, professor, or researcher filing a US federal income tax return or claiming an exception.
  • Dependent/spouse of a non-resident alien on a US visa.

Although it is a mandatory requirement to have an ITIN number to file a tax return, when you apply for the ITIN for the first time, you can make your first tax filing at the same time. You must attach this declaration to the Form Form W-7.

Additionally, it is necessary to verify your identity with one of the following documents:

  • Personal identification card
  • Driver's license from the United States or your country
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • US or foreign military card

Submit your form and get your ITIN number

With all the requirements in hand, send the package by mail to this address: Internal Revenue Service, Austin Service Center, ITIN Operation, P.O. Box 149342, Austin, TX 78714-9342.

This will be the only time your statement is sent in this way, subsequent occasions will have to be sent to the address indicated on the form.

Other options to process your ITIN are:

Schedule an appointment at the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center to receive the necessary advice. You can also hire the services of a Certified Acceptance Agent, authorized by the IRS, to carry out the process.

The approximate processing time is six weeks, if you do not receive a response within that period, it is advisable to contact the IRS to find out the status of your application. Remember that the format can be filled out in English or Spanish and sent in any month of the year. Another relevant aspect to take into account is that the ITIN number expires if it is not used -at least- for a tax return in a period of five years.

Do not wait any longer, request your ITIN number, meet your tax obligations, open bank accounts, access financing and consolidate a credit reputation that allows you to enhance your talent and give your loved ones the standard of living they deserve.

Obtaining the ITIN number is the first step to starting a life within the legal frame in the United States. Think big, first go in search of your residence and later your citizenship.

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