It is essential for most newcomers to know the difference between SSN (Social Security Number) and ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). Just because they need to work, receive social security benefits, apply for bank accounts, file taxes and so on. You can do all these things with a national identification number like SSN or ITIN. For many non-residents, it is usual to get confused about both numbers. As up to some extent an SSN and an ITIN serve the same function. However, bear this in mind: you can’t get them at the same time and each of those numbers is distributed differently and to different individuals.
What is the Difference Between SSN and ITIN?
Although some people use it interchangeably, there’s a sharp difference between SSN and ITIN that everybody should know about. At the most basic level, an SSN is for U.S. citizens and authorized non-citizens. Authorized residents vary from students on F1 visas to Green Card holders but both types of ID require legal permission to work in the U.S. On the other hand, an ITIN is for foreign-status residents. This includes undocumented aliens and non-resident aliens conducting business in the U.S. Let’s look at these terms in a bit more detail to acknowledge them better.
What is SSN: Social Security Number?
Social Security Number is issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and for most Americans, it is like a personal ID. This is given to individuals who have either been born in the United States or are registered to work in the United States. It is a nine-digit number of ‘XXX-XX-XXXX’ format.
Its primary purpose is to monitor individuals through a wide variety of services provided by the United States government. That is, this number is being used by the government to keep track of lifetime earnings and the number of days worked. Therefore, if you ever need to get benefit payments when you retire the government uses your number to determine your eligibility and calculate your payment.
When it comes to talking about the benefits of the Social Security Number, it is among the most important identification numbers in the U.S. By using your SSN, you can:
• open a bank account
• get a driving license
• apply for a visa
• obtain credit and buy a home or a car
• benefit from private insurance
Please keep in mind that you should keep your Social Security Number or any documents that contain your SSN in a secure place.
What is ITIN: Individual Taxpayer Identification Number?
An ITIN is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. It is a nine-digit number that allows you to file an income tax return even if you do not have a Social Security Number. An ITIN is only for tax purposes; therefore, it cannot be used for identification purposes. This means that having an ITIN does not allow you to take advantage of benefits such as Social Security or the Earned Income Tax Credit, immigration status, working in the United States. ITINs can be used:
• To build a credit history
• To apply for credit cards, auto loans, and other U.S. bank credits
Who might need an ITIN? Let’s check below:
• Non-U.S. residents who need filing a tax return
• Resident aliens who are required to file a tax return on the basis of the number of days they
• reside in the United States
• Dependents or the spouse of a U.S. citizen or resident alien
• Dependents or spouse of nonresident alien visa holders
If you are living abroad, you can also apply for an ITIN. At theitin.com you may start your ITIN application process right now! To sum up, this is the difference between an SSN and ITIN. Hope this article helps!