IRS News Release  
May 23, 1996

Tax Identification Numbers for Aliens

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service today issued final regulations which require certain aliens who cannot obtain Social Security numbers (SSNs) to get IRS-issued individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs).

After 1996, each foreign person must use an identification number on any U.S. tax return or refund claim filed. This would include:

  • filing a U.S. tax return to report U.S.-source income;
  • filing a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund of tax withheld;
  • being the spouse of a U.S. citizen or resident who elects to file a joint tax return;
  • being claimed as a spouse for an exemption on a U.S. tax return; or
  • being claimed as a dependent on another persons & thorn's U.S. tax return.

The IRS has used temporary numbers to process returns involving those who can't get SSNs. Starting January 1, the IRS will instead suspend its processing of such forms until taxpayers provide valid identification numbers. The IRS will begin taking applications for ITINs in July and will issue a new Form W-7 for this purpose.

The ITIN is not available for U.S. citizens or persons legally permitted to reside permanently or to work in the U.S. These taxpayers qualify for SSNs and should obtain them from the Social Security Administration by filing Form SS-5. The ITIN is for tax processing purposes only -- it does not entitle the holder to Social Security benefits or change the holder & thorn's employment or immigration status under U.S. law.

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