No social security number? No problem!

People working in the U.S. have to file tax returns, and most use a Social Security number to identify themselves. But not all people have or qualify for Social Security numbers, so how do they file? They use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead.

An ITIN is a 9-digit number issued by the IRS to anyone who doesn’t have or qualify for a Social Security number and who earns income in the U.S. The number can only be used for tax purposes and doesn’t affect immigration status or authorize employment in America.

To get an ITIN, taxpayers and dependents who don’t have valid Social Security numbers must submit a W-7 form and an original completed tax return. H&R Block and other companies that are designated by the IRS as Certifying Acceptance Agents can submit the paperwork.

Taxpayers with ITINs have been able to file electronically unless they presented mismatching taxpayer identification numbers on their tax forms (such as presenting an ITIN and a W-2 with a number other than an ITIN). Because of a recent IRS change, clients can now file electronically. E-filing makes processing returns quicker and enables refunds (if applicable) to be delivered sooner. More than 54 percent of all returns – 73 million forms – were e-filed last year.

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