Ties to the U.S.: You May Need an ITIN Number

Are you a non-U.S. citizen or green card holder who is required to file a U.S. tax return or has investments in U.S. real property or a U.S. partnership? If so, you may need to apply for a U.S. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (“ITIN”).

An ITIN is a tax ID number that is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) to any individual who is not eligible for a U.S. Social Security Number (“SSN”) who must file a U.S. Federal tax return or has other reporting requirements under the Internal Revenue Code.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of situations that may require non-U.S. persons or green card holders to apply for an ITIN:

  1. Non-residents filing a U.S. individual tax return (i.e., rental income or salary);
  2. Spouse or dependents of a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident;
  3. Non-residents who receive certain payments from sources within the U.S. such as scholarships, honoraria payments etc.;
  4. Non-residents who sell U.S. real property; or
  5. Non-residents claiming a tax treaty benefit.

To apply for an ITIN, you must complete IRS form W7 and submit documents to establish your identity and connection to a country other than the U.S.  A certified copy of a passport is generally the best proof.  Although the form itself is not terribly complicated, obtaining certified proof of identity generally requires a visit to either the passport office or a US embassy or consulate. This is usually a time-consuming procedure.

ITIN numbers do not have an indefinite life.  They automatically expire if not used on a tax return at least once in the last three years.  Otherwise, they expire periodically.  The IRS publishes a list every year indicating which number sequences will expire in that year.  If your ITIN is expiring you have to reapply using the procedures outlined above.


FL Fuller Landau is a Certified Acceptance Agent (“CAA”) authorized by the IRS to attest to the validity of documents so that you can avoid visiting the passport office or U.S. embassy or consulate. We can walk you through the process, and help you to determine your eligibility, certify your passport and assist with the application. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our team members regarding an ITIN or any cross-border tax related matters.

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