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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Gray CPA


A Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws. It is issued either by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or by the IRS. A Social Security number (SSN) is issued by the SSA whereas all other TINs are issued by the IRS.

Thus, Taxpayer Identification Numbers include: Social Security Number "SSN", Employer Identification Number "EIN", Individual Taxpayer Identification Number "ITIN", Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions "ATIN" and Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number "PTIN".

A TIN must be furnished on returns, statements, and other tax related documents. For example a number must be furnished when filing tax returns or when claiming treaty benefits.

A TIN must be on a withholding certificate if the beneficial owner is claiming any of the following: Tax treaty benefits (other than for income from marketable securities), Exemption for effectively connected income or Exemption for certain annuities.

One generally must list on one’s individual income tax return the social security number (SSN) of any person for whom one claims an exemption. If one’s dependent or spouse does not have and is not eligible to get an SSN, one must list the ITIN instead of an SSN. One does not need an SSN or ITIN for a child who was born and died in the same tax year. Instead of an SSN or ITIN, attach a copy of the child's birth certificate and write ‘Died’ on the appropriate exemption line of one’s tax return.

To obtain SSN complete an application for a Social Security Card submitting evidence of identity, age, and U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status.

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a federal tax identification number, and is used to identify a business entity. It is also used by estates and trusts and certain NRA sole proprietors. An ITIN, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is a tax processing number only available for certain non-resident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get a Social Security Number (SSN). It is a 9-digit number, beginning with the number "9", formatted like an SSN (NNN-NN-NNNN).

An Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) is a temporary nine-digit number issued by the IRS to individuals who are in the process of legally adopting a U.S. citizen or resident child but who cannot get an SSN for that child in time to file their tax return.

In our IRS CAA capacity assists Canadian companies and individuals obtain EIN or ITIN.

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