By Miriam De Dios
No one enjoys the process of filing income taxes, but it's something most workers have to do every year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires everyone living in the United States who receives income (wages or earnings) and meets certain requirements to declare that income--regardless of immigration status. Every year, you have until April 15 to file your federal tax return.
The IRS offers tips for preparing your taxes. Since you will need to gather several files to complete your tax return, it's important to prepare it as soon as possible. Also, you'll want to find out for which tax credits you might qualify.
To file your taxes, you need an identification number for each person you include on the tax return. This number can be a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). A Social Security number is issued by the Department of Social Security, but an ITIN number is issued by the IRS.
If anyone on your tax return is not eligible for a Social Security number and has to declare their income taxes, you can request an ITIN number by completing IRS Form W-7. Keep in mind that the ITIN number does not allow the individual to work legally in the United States. Also it provides neither Social Security benefits or Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), nor any immigration status. It is simply to use for your tax return.
You can complete both the forms to file for an ITIN and your federal tax return yourself. If you are not comfortable or capable of completing these forms, look for assistance from a local agency in your community. In many cases, tax preparers or even your local credit union know of an agency to help you with your tax return or your request for an ITIN. It is important to remember that most applications for an ITIN must be accompanied by your federal tax return, but there are exceptions. For this reason, some tax preparers can also help with the application of an ITIN number. For answers to your questions about the requirements to apply for an ITIN number, visit the IRS website.