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Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) FAQ


Information Regarding Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)

1. ITIN Factsheet created by National Immigration Law Center (NILC)

2. Frequently Asked Questions about Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)*

Last Updated April 2014

The attached document will answer the following questions:

Table of Contents

General ITIN & Taxes Questions

  1. Who qualifies for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?
  2. When can a taxpayer file for an ITIN?
  3. For how long is an ITIN valid?
  4. Why does the taxpayer receive his/her ITIN on a letter and not a card?

Applying for an ITIN

  1. What does a taxpayer need to apply for an ITIN?
  2. Is a taxpayer required to file a tax return when applying for an ITIN?
  3. Can a taxpayer obtain a W-7 without filing a tax return?
  4. Where can a taxpayer obtain a Form W-7?
  5. What is a CAA?
  6. In what other languages is the Form W-7 available?
  7. How long does it take for the IRS to process an ITIN application?
  8. Should a taxpayer file returns for all open years when applying for an ITIN?
  9. What are common reasons for rejecting ITIN applications?

How to fill out and file Form W-7

  1. Must a taxpayer answer the “Entry date in U.S.” question on the W-7?
  2. What documents must a taxpayer submit with the W-7 to obtain an ITIN?
  3. What addresses must a taxpayer provide?
  4. How can an advocate ensure that any submission to the IRS is timely received?


  1. Should a taxpayer who has been working under an unassigned name and/or social security number (SSN) file a tax return?
  2. How does an employee who is assigned a SSN and medicare number transfer the withheld social security taxes from the old, unassigned SSN to the new number?
  3. How should a taxpayer obtain an ITIN after using an unassigned SSN?
  4. How should a taxpayer notify the IRS when he/she receives an assigned SSN and no longer needs the ITIN?

W-2 Forms and Employers 

  1. Should an ITIN ever be given to an employer for issuing a W-2?
  2. What should an employee do when he/she does not receive a Form W-2 on time?
  3. What should an employee and an employer do when the employer receives a “no match” letter from the SSA?


  1. Can a taxpayer apply for ITINs for his/her dependents?
  2. What documents are required when requesting an ITIN for a dependent child?

Assistance with Filing & IRS Disclosure 

  1. Does the IRS release any tax information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?
  2. Does the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) contact ICE after a taxpayer files a state tax return (with an ITIN) or in other circumstances?
  3. What options does an employer have when paying back wages to employees who used unassigned SSNs?
  4. Are taxpayers filing tax returns with an ITIN eligible for the earned income credit (EIC)?
  5. Are taxpayers filing tax returns with an ITIN eligible for the Child Tax Credit (CTC)?

Massachusetts/DOR Related ITIN Questions

  1. Should a taxpayer file state tax returns in addition to federal returns?
  2. What are the penalties if a taxpayer does not file a tax return?
  3. What does a taxpayer do if the DOR says it wants verification of an ITIN?
  4. Can a taxpayer file a state return without a taxpayer identification number?


*Disclaimer: This document is a compendium compiled by Ilana Abramson, AmeriCorps advocate at MLRI from multiple advocacy resources and is NOT a substitute for legal advice. Special thanks are due to Luz Arevalo of Greater Boston Legal Services who reviewed and provided assistance with preparation of this document.

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