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What Is The Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)?

What Is the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)?

The Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to enable individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number (SSN), to pay their taxes.

The ITIN program was created by the IRS in July 1996 and allows IRS to collect billions of dollars that would otherwise not be possible.

Who is eligible for an ITIN?

  • 1) Individuals who do not have a lawful status in the United States; and
  • 2) Individuals who have a lawful status but are not eligible for a SSN:
    • A non-resident foreign national who owns or invests in a U.S. business and receives taxable income from that U.S. business, but lives in another country.
    • A foreign national student who qualifies as a resident of the United States (based on days present in the United States).
    • A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
    • A dependent or spouse of a foreign national on a temporary visa.

Is ITIN used to track immigrants in unlawful status?

The answer is a definite “No”. The only goal of the ITIN program is to facilitate tax payment.

More importantly, the Internal Revenue Code states that the IRS is not authorized to release taxpayer information to other government agencies except for providing information to the Treasury Department for investigations that pertain to tax administration, or under a court order related to a non-tax criminal investigation.  As such, applicants should feel confident that applying for an ITIN would not result in leading immigration enforcement agencies to their door-step.

If you should have any questions or need more information about whether you qualify for an ITIN or any other immigration matter, please contact the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad, P.C. by e-mailing us at or calling us at 312.641-0771.

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