Tax Identification NumberTax Identification Number Basics

A tax identification number, or TIN, is an avenue the IRS uses for tracking. They are all 9 digits long. Except for social security numbers, they are all issued by the IRS. In this article, we will go over the basics of tax identification numbers.

Who Needs One

Individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, trusts, and estates all require a unique tax identification number. These are needed for filing your tax return with the IRS. Often a tax identification number is needed for obtaining credit, employment, and filing for state tax returns.

Types of TINs

There are several types of tax identification numbers. These are:

  • Social Security Numbers: This is the most common type of tax identification number. They are issued to United States citizens, permanent residents, and some temporary residents. You must have one to qualify for employment and to receive government benefits. The nine digits are formatted at XXX-XX-XXXX.
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number: ITINs are necessary for individuals who do not qualify for a social security number. This would include nonresident and resident aliens. Along with their spouses and dependents. To receive one, you must fill out Form W-7. ITINs are formatted as 9XX-XX-XXXX.
  • Employer Identification Number: An EIN is specific for businesses, trusts, and estates. This is the number one of these entities would need to file taxes and open bank accounts. It is formatted as XX-XXXXXXX. You can apply for one using the IRS’ website or Form SS4.
  • Adoption Tax Identification Number: ATINs are for children that are US citizens or permanent residents and are the subject of a pending adoption. An ATIN allows parents to complete tax returns when they have not received an SSN for the child.
  • Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number: A PTIN is specific for paid tax preparers. This allows the IRS to track the returns each preparer files. You can file for one online or by using Form W-12.

Using Your Tax Identification Number

Once you obtain it, you will want to be cautious when you use your tax identification number. Be sure to only give it out when necessary and maintain close control of the documents it is on.

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