When am I not required to submit a social security number on my tax return?

A:

When filing your tax return, you are generally required to include the social security numbers of yourself and the individuals for whom you claim as dependents. However, exceptions do apply.

Exceptions
Child Born and Died Same Year
If you have a child who died in the year of birth, and you did not apply for the child's social security number, an exception applies to including that child's social security number. However, you are required to attach a copy of the child's birth certificate to your tax return and print the word "‘died" in column (2) of line 6c of your 1040 Form or 1040A Form.

Non-resident Alien
If you are claiming for a dependent who is a non-resident alien that does not qualify to receive a social security number, you must use the individual's individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) instead.

Obtaining Identification Numbers
Social security numbers can be obtained in the US by completing an application at your local Social Security office, or at the U.S. consulate for individuals who live outside the US.

An ITIN may be obtained by filing IRS Form W-7 with the IRS, or by working with IRS-authorized Acceptance Agent, which are available in most states and some foreign countries.

If you are applying for an ITIN at the same time you are filing your tax return, you may need to send the application and the tax return to the following address, instead of sending the tax return to the usual address to which tax-returns are mailed.

Internal RevenueService
AustinServiceCenter
ITIN Operation

P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX78714-9342

Or visit www.irs.gov for details.

If you changed your name due to marriage, divorce or other legal reasons such as a deed poll, you should contact the social security administration (SSA) to have the change reflected, so as to ensure that there is no discrepancy between the IRS and SSA records, as that could result in the processing of your return being delayed.

To read more frequently asked tax questions, How do I file taxes for income from foreign sources?,Does everyone have to file a federal tax return?, How can I make sure I'm ready to file my taxes? and Common Tax Questions Answered.


If you feel you will be unable to file your tax return by the tax deadline, see Get A Six-Month Tax Extension.

Question answered by Denise Appleby, CISP, CRC, CRPS, CRSP, APA

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