TIN stands for Taxpayer Identification Number. Composed of nine digits, a TIN is an identification number that is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws. Except for Social Security Numbers which are issued by the Social Security Administration, tax identification numbers are issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you are wondering if you need a TIN, it is required when filing tax returns and when claiming treaty benefits. Additionally, a TIN is a must when completing other statements, withholding certificates, and other tax-related documents.
Are there different types of Tax Identification Numbers?
Yes, there are various types of tax identification numbers:
Social Security Number (SSN)
Employer Identification Number (EIN). For business entity identification, also known as a federal tax identification number.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). A tax-processing number is available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who are not able to get an SSN. An ITIN cannot be used to claim the earned income credit.
Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN). A temporary nine-digit number issued by the IRS. This is for those who are in the process of legally adopting a U.S. citizen or resident child but are unable to get an SSN for the child before filing their tax return.
Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). This is required by the IRS for individuals who are paid tax preparers.
How can an individual obtain a TIN?
Let’s take a look at some of the steps needed to get a TIN based on the type:
Social Security Number (SSN). Complete Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card) and submit proof of identity, age, U.S. citizenship, or lawful alien status.
Employer Identification Number (EIN). Use Form SS-4 to apply for an EIN.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Complete IRS Form W-7 (IRS Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). Along with this form, you will need documentation of foreign/alien status and true identity. Submit your application by mail, at IRS walk-in offices, or process application through an authorized Acceptance Agent.
Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN). Use Form W-7A (Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions). Please note that this form may only be used if the child is not a U.S. citizen or resident.
Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Apply for PTIN using the new IRS sign-up system online.
Are TIN Number and Employer Identification Number (EIN) the same thing?
When we say tax identification number (TIN), this is a general term for different identification numbers issued by the IRS and SSA. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a type of TIN. An EIN is assigned to a business for monitoring taxes and business identification. An EIN can also be used as a requirement for opening a business bank account, when applying for a business loan, for licenses and permit business identification, filing state taxes, and electronic tax returns.
All businesses generally need to have their own EIN. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you will need an EIN if the answer to any of these questions is “yes”:
Does your business have employees?
Does your business operate as a corporation or a partnership?
Do you have a limited liability company (LLC) that is taxed as a corporation or S corporation?
Do you file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms?
Does your business withhold taxes on wages and income paid to a non-resident alien?
Does your business have a Keogh plan?
Is your business involved in any of the following: trusts, estates, real estate mortgage investment conduits, non-profit organizations, farmers’ cooperatives, and plan administrators?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, your business needs an EIN.
Is a TIN Number and a Social Security Number (SSN) the same thing?
As we have previously mentioned, a tax identification number (TIN) is a broad term that can be of different types. A Social Security Number (SSN) is a type of TIN. An SSN is the most common type of TIN that is used by individuals.
In employment, a Social Security Number (SSN) is used by employers to verify the identity of employees for annual wage report submissions and the employee’s Social Security benefits.
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