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Just How Can I Obtain an Identification Number or ITIN

Just How Can I Obtain an Identification Number or ITIN

By Anthony Diosdi

The Individual Tax Identification Number or ITIN allows taxpayers who do not have a Social Security Number to file tax returns. Unlike, a Social Security Number, an ITIN serves only one purpose- tax filing and reporting. Any nonresident conducting business in the United States must obtain an ITIN to open a U.S. bank account and file U.S. tax returns.

Obtaining an ITIN

A nonresident alien applies for an ITIN on Form W-7. The form must be completed and signed under penalties of perjury. The IRS guidance instructs the nonresident alien applicant to mail the W-7 and supporting documentation to the IRS, Philadelphia Service Center, ITIN Unit, P.O. Box 447, Bensalem, PA 19020. Alternatively, the nonresident alien applicant can go to an Acceptance Agent in the U.S. or abroad. To find one, visit the IRS website (http://www.irs.gov/) and type “Acceptance Agent” in the search engine.

The nonresident alien applicant must provide an original or certified or notarized copies of certain identification documents to apply for an ITIN. The documents must be consistent with the information on the Form W-7. If the individual is submitting an original, valid passport or certified or notarized copy of the same, no other identification document is required. Otherwise, the applicant must submit at least two or more of the documents listed below that are current, verify the applicant’s identity (by containing the applicant’s name and a photograph of the applicant), and support of the claimed foreign status:

National identification card, showing photo, name, current address, date of birth and expiration date;

U.S. driver’s license;

Civil birth certificate;

Foreign driver’s license;

U.S. state identification card;

Foreign voter’s registration;

U.S. military identification card;

Foreign military identification card;


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services photo identification;

School records (students only).

According to the IRS, original documents mailed or submitted will be returned to the applicant. If the applicant prefers to submit copies of requested documents, the copies must be certified by the issuing agency or official custodian of the original record, or notarized by a U.S. notary must see the valid, unaltered, original document to make this certification. Foreign notaries are accepted under the conditions set forth in the Hague Convention.

Anthony Diosdi is a partner and attorney at Diosdi Ching & Liu, LLP. He represents clients in federal tax controversy matters and federal white-collar criminal defense throughout the United States. Anthony Diosdi may be reached at 415.18.3990 or by email: adiosdi@sftaxcounsel.com.

This article is not legal or tax advice. If you are in need of legal or tax advice, you should immediately consult a licensed attorney.