TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / IRS Tax Forms / What is Form W-7: Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

What is Form W-7: Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

Updated for Tax Year 2016


OVERVIEW

A W-7 Form is used to apply for an individual taxpayer identification number, or ITIN, for non-citizens who aren't eligible to receive a Social Security number but need to file a federal tax return with the IRS for income from US sources.


U.S. citizen taxpayers typically use Social Security numbers to identify themselves and their family members to the Internal Revenue Service, better known as the IRS. But some non-citizens who have U.S. tax obligations aren't eligible to receive a Social Security number. Instead, they can apply for an individual taxpayer identification number, or ITIN, by submitting Form W-7 to the IRS.

work boot with american flag pin

Why ITINs Are Necessary

In general, only people who are authorized to work in the United States are eligible to have a Social Security number. This includes both U.S. citizens and non-citizens such as U.S. nationals and permanent residents. These people use their Social Security numbers to identify themselves when filing their taxes.

But non-citizens without work authorization sometimes have to file U.S. tax returns, too -- if they have income from U.S. sources, for example, or if they are entitled to a refund of withheld money under a tax treaty.

In addition, taxpayers who list non-citizen spouses or dependents on their tax return need to provide ID numbers for them. It is in situations like these where individual taxpayer identification numbers come into play.

About Form W-7

Form W-7 asks for the following information:

  • The reason the applicant needs an ITIN
  • The applicant's name, mailing address and, if different, foreign address
  • The applicant's birth date and location of birth
  • The country where the applicant is a citizen
  • The applicant's foreign tax ID number, if he or she has one
  • The applicant's U.S. visa number, if applicable
  • Details about documents being submitted to verify the applicant's identity

How to Apply

The IRS stresses that an ITIN is only for use with federal tax filings. Having one does not change a person’s residency or immigration status and does not mean someone is eligible to work in the United States. Further, you usually shouldn't apply for an ITIN until you actually need it for a tax return. To apply, submit:

  • A completed copy of Form W-7
  • The tax return that needs the number
  • Valid identification for the person needing the number

Valid Forms of ID

To receive an ITIN, a person’s ID must prove both identity and “foreign status” — that is, it must prove that the person is not a U.S. citizen. A valid passport or a certified copy of a passport proves both. If the person does not have a passport, then that person must supply at least two of the following documents. Some of them provide proof only of identity; others prove both foreign status and identity:

  • Photo ID card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (foreign status and identity)
  • Visa issued by the State Department (foreign status and identity)
  • U.S. of foreign driver’s license (identity only)
  • U.S. military ID card (identity only)
  • Foreign military ID card (foreign status and identity)
  • National ID card from a foreign country (foreign status and identity)
  • Non-driver ID card issued by a U.S. state (foreign status and identity)
  • Foreign voter registration card (foreign status and identity)
  • Foreign birth certificate (identity; if the certificate is from a foreign country, then foreign status and identity)
  • Medical records for children under 6 (identity; if the certificate is from a foreign country, then foreign status and identity)
  • School records for children under 14 or under 18 if still a student (identity; if the certificate is from a foreign country, then foreign status and identity)

The IRS reviews the W-7 and, if it approves the application, assigns an ITIN and processes the tax return.

Submitting the Form

A tax return accompanied by one or more W-7 forms cannot be submitted electronically. You can submit it in person at any IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center that performs in-person document reviews; most major cities have such assistance centers, and there is at least one center in every state.

You can also submit tax returns with W-7 forms by mail to:

  • Internal Revenue Service
  • ITIN Operation
  • P.O. Box 149342
  • Austin, TX 78714-9342

According to the IRS, it takes 6 to 10 weeks to obtain an ITIN. Starting in 2016, an ITIN will be canceled if it is not used on any tax return for 5 years in a row.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99$34.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/1040A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Bonus Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 federal return with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/18/17 and receive a complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/18 at no additional cost. After you file your taxes, you must activate your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 7/15/2017 by logging into QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/login. Once activated, you will have access to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/2018.
    Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not file with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/30/2018, your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription will automatically renew on 5/1/2018 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself: In order to pay for the price of TurboTax Self-Employed, you will need at least $600 in deductible business expenses. This calculation is based on the self-employment tax income rate for tax year 2016.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or SmartLook); not included with Federal Free Edition. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • TurboTax Self-Employed Expense Finder: Available only in TurboTax Self-Employed. Not available for people with certain types of expenses and tax situations including paying contractors or employees, home office or vehicle actuals, inventory, self employed health insurance or retirement, asset depreciation, sale of property or vehicles, and farm income. Some financial institutions limit the timeframe for which historical transactions may be imported by ExpenseFinder. ExpenseFinder expected late January (late February for mobile app).
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.