When Can Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) be used as Social Security Numbers (SSN)

The ITIN doesn’t give you the right to live or even work in the US, but it is very useful for various other reasons. A lot of people who are born in the US, are given a Social Security Number. This is otherwise known as an SSN. This essentially allows for money to be taken out of your salary throughout your working life, which can then be contributed to your retirement. If you are in the US but you are not permitted to have a Social Security Number, then you will not be allowed to take part in the scheme.


About an ITIN


An ITIN is issued by the IRS. It gives you very similar benefits when it comes to your tax obligations. The main purpose of an ITIN is that it can be used instead of an SSN, when it comes to filing your income taxes or even claiming tax credits. It won’t fool your employer to thinking that you have a right to work in the US. Your employer will easily be able to check on the government database to see if your SSN is valid.


Why would you Need an ITIN?


The ITIN comes in very handy if you would like to open up an interest-bearing bank account or if you want to apply for a driving license. It also helps you to create a track record for how long you have lived in the US, which is very handy if you need to gain an employment form or even permanent immigration status. Keep in mind though, that an ITIN does not indicate or even confirm that you have a legal status in the US.


How to Get an ITIN?


If you want to apply for an ITIN then you need to download this form. You will also need to attach a completed tax return. You can file a copy or an original return. If you are filing with a copy, then you have to make sure that you write COPY at the top. When you have done this, you then need to gather all of the original documentation or even certified documents. This will ultimately verify your identity and it will also show your foreign status too. The only documents that the IRS will accept include:

  • Passport
  • US Driving License
  • Civil Birth Certificate
  • US State ID Card


When Can An ITIN Be Used as an SSN?


You can use an ITIN as an SSN when you apply for a house or if you need to prove how long you have been in the US for when applying for a driving license. You can also use it if you need to apply for an interest-bearing bank account. You cannot use it to apply for a job, however.


At the end of the day, it’s helpful for you to get an ITIN if you do not have an SSN. That being said, you do have to make sure that you take the time to really look into your options. An SSN might be the best option but if you do not qualify then you may need to put some additional time and thought into applying for an ITIN, as it may not offer you the same benefits.


If you want to find out more about ITINs or SSNs then please do contact us today at Karim & Associates.

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