Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)


An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a nine-digit tax processing number issued to nonresidents for tax purposes who (1) are not eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN) and (2) have taxable income from a U.S. source. ITINs are processed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

ITINs are used for federal tax reporting only and are not intended to serve any other purpose. The IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs). An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S., does not provide eligibility for Social Security benefits, and does not provide any income tax credits or deductions.

If you currently have an SSN, you do not need and you are not eligible for an ITIN. If you obtain an SSN, any ITIN(s) that were previously issued to you are no longer valid.  

If you received taxable income from U.S. sources during the previous year (such as a fellowship, grant, or scholarship) but were not employed and therefore do not have – and are not eligible to receive – a Social Security Number (SSN), then you will need to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) so that you can file your required federal tax return.
 
An ITIN is not required if you have or are eligible to apply for an SSN because the SSN serves as a taxpayer identification number.
 
An ITIN is not required if you had no taxable income from U.S. sources during the tax year (January 1 – December 31).  
  • Taxable income can come in a variety of forms, including fellowships, grants, and scholarships.
  • ISS is unable to verify whether the income you may have received from a U.S. source is taxable.
  • If Texas A&M University contacted you to create an account in GLACIER, then this is a very good indicator that the income was taxable.
  • If you received some form of tax-related form from the organization that provided the income, this could be another indicator that the income is taxable. 

Many F-1 international student athletes are required to obtain an ITIN because they have received an athletic grant that is considered U.S. taxable income but they do not have employment in the U.S. and therefore cannot apply for an SSN.
 
You may need to apply for an ITIN if you will be included on the tax return of someone else and you do not have and are ineligible to obtain an SSN.
 
Your dependent(s) may need to apply for an ITIN if you will be including them on your tax return and they do not have and are ineligible to obtain an SSN.
The best time to apply for an ITIN is during the fall semester. Waiting until the federal tax filing season in spring semester could delay the processing of your U.S. federal tax return.
‚Äč
IRS Form W-7 is used to apply for an ITIN. ITIN applications are submitted to and processed by the U.S. government’s Internal Revenue Services (IRS). After processing, the IRS will issue your ITIN through the mail. You should receive a letter from the IRS assigning your tax identification number usually within seven weeks if you qualify for an ITIN and your application is complete. You can call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 if you are in the United States or 267-941-1000 (not a toll-free number) if you are outside the United States. This service allows you to check the status of your application seven weeks after submitting Form W-7 and your tax return. You can find more information about the ITIN application process at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/how-do-i-apply-for-an-itin.

There are 3 ways you can apply for an ITIN:

1. Apply by Mail
You can submit the ITIN application by mail if you first obtain a certified copy of the passport for each ITIN applicant. This certification must be completed by the applicant’s home country government. To obtain this documentation, contact your Embassy or Consulate here in the U.S. for assistance. The ITIN application form and instructions can be found on the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-w-7.
 
If Sprintax determines that you need an ITIN, you will have the option to pay a small fee for their assistance with compiling your W-7 Form as part of the ITIN application. The ITIN application is not included with the access code provided by ISS. If you choose to purchase this Sprintax service, the software will generate the Form W-7 for you and provide you with a list of documents that should be included with your ITIN application. You will then need to print and sign the Form W-7 with your supporting documents and mail all required application materials to the IRS. You cannot apply for the ITIN online through Sprintax. The following blogs on ITINs may be of use to learn more.

2. Apply at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center
You can visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center for in-person assistance with the ITIN application process. Not all IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers can process ITINs, so be sure to locate an office that is able to assist with the ITIN application process. View the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers in Texas.

3. Apply through an IRS-authorized Certifying Acceptance Agent
You also have the option to apply for an ITIN through an IRS-authorized Certified Acceptance Agent

Visit the following IRS webpages to learn more about ITINs.  Related Sprintax Resources: