What Is A Tin? A Complete Guide To Tax Identification Number

What is a tax identification number? The tax identification number (TIN) is a nine-digit number used by the internal revenue service (IRS) as a tracking number on all tax returns filed with the IRS. Continue reading this article to familiarize yourself with what is TIN.

Taxation is essential for determining a country’s financial policy and supporting it in developing its economic structure. A tax is an economic contribution made to the government that is required. Taxation is compulsory, and there is no value exchange between the amount paid and the government’s services.  The Internal Revenue Number (IRS) uses a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) as a means of identification for administering tax regulation. It is distributed by the IRS or the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The primary goal of taxation is to mobilize resources and channel them into productive investments. Tax can also be used to promote equity, minimize inequities, and encourage or discourage certain types of consumption.

The internal revenue service uses a nine-digit tax identification number (TIN) as a tracking number. All tax returns are filed with the internal revenue service (IRS). Except for social security numbers, which the social security administration issues, all U.S tax identification numbers or tax ID numbers are administered directly by the internal revenue service. Foreign tax identification numbers (foreign TINs) are likewise not issued by the IRS but by the country where the non-US person pays taxes.

Understanding tax identification number (TIN) 

Taxation involves individuals or entities paying funds to governmental authorities without receiving direct benefits. Governments carry out mandatory and optional functions, with mandatory functions including defense and law enforcement. To fund these activities and others like infrastructure development and social welfare programs, individuals and entities require a Tax Identification Number (TIN).

A TIN is a unique sequence of numbers assigned to individuals, corporations, or nonprofit organizations by a governing agency. Also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Taxpayer Identification Number, it is crucial for managing tax accounts and preserving a business’s identity.

The Federal Tax Identification Number, commonly referred to as the EIN, consists of nine digits and is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This number is essential for various business needs and can be obtained online through a straightforward application process.

Business entities such as employers, sole proprietors, trusts, partnerships, and non-profit organizations all require a TIN. Even in cases of ownership changes or restructuring, obtaining a new TIN is straightforward, ensuring continuity in tax identification.

Applying for a TIN online streamlines the process, allowing individuals to fill out forms and meet requirements conveniently. However, it’s important to note that TINs cannot be transferred between businesses. If a company undergoes structural or ownership changes, it must obtain a new TIN to maintain legal compliance and identity in the marketplace.

In summary, understanding the importance of a Tax Identification Number is vital for businesses to fulfill their tax obligations, maintain their identity, and navigate changes effectively.


Image Source: LawPadi
Image Source: LawPadi

The tax identification number (TIN), or taxpayer identification number, is required for anyone who files annual tax returns with the internal revenue service and is used by the government to trace taxpayers. When claiming government benefits or services, filters must submit several tax-related papers.

The tax identification number is also necessary for the following reasons:

  • For credit: Banks and other lenders require social security numbers on loan applications. This information is subsequently sent to the credit bureaus to ensure the correct person completes the application. Credit reporting companies also use tax identification numbers, particularly SSNs, to report and track an individual’s credit history.
  • To find work: Employers want a social security number from everyone looking for a job. This guarantees that the person is legally permitted to work in the United States. The statistics are double-checked by employers with the issuing agency.
  • For state agencies: Businesses must have state identification numbers to file tax returns with their respective state tax agency. The filer receives the ID number directly from the state taxing authorities.

There are numerous types of tax identification numbers, sometimes known as taxpayer identity numbers. Individuals are given tax identification numbers as social security numbers, whereas organizations such as corporations and partnerships are given employment identification numbers (EINSs).

Individual taxpayer identification numbers, adoption taxpayer identification numbers, and preparer tax identification numbers are all examples of tax identification numbers. Tax identification numbers are used in almost every country for various reasons.

For example, social insurance numbers are used for employment, taxation, benefits, and credit in Canada. The tax identification numbers are also used in the European Union. They assist government agencies in identifying taxpayers and allowing them to invest their funds throughout the United States.

Types of tax identification numbers

Taxpayer Identification Number

Short form

Who Needs It?


Social Security Number SSN Individuals, sole proprietors, and single-member LLCs Form SS-5
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number ITIN Nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get an SSN Form W-7
Employer Identification Number EIN Employers, corporations, partnerships, and multi-member LLCs Form SS-4 or online
Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions ATIN Individuals in the process of legally adopting a U.S. citizen or resident child, if the child does not have an SSN Form W-7A
Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number PTIN Individuals who prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns Form W-12

Social security number (SSN)

Social security number (SSN) -  tin
Image Source: Social Security Intelligence

The most prevalent tax identification number is the social security number. The social security administration issues SSNs to individuals who are United States citizens, permanent residents, or particular temporary residents.

The social security number is essential to obtain legal work in the United States and receive social security payments and other government services. Before a parent may claim their child as a dependent for income tax purposes, they must have a social security number, which implies parents voluntarily apply for the number on their children’s behalf.

A dependent can be claimed if the youngster has an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). The social security administration handles applications for free, but there are also fee-based services that help new parents finish their applications.

Points out:

  • Make sure you only give your Social Security number to people you are obligated to, such as the IRS, employers, and lenders, as it is a distinctive identification number that scammers may use against you.

Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN)

 Image Source: Nova Credit
Image Source: Nova Credit

When non-resident and resident aliens, spouses, and dependents are ineligible for social security numbers, the internal revenue service issues an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). The personal taxpayer identification number starts with a nine.

To obtain an individual tax identification number, the applicant must fill out form w-7 and submit papers proving residency. Colleges, banks, and accounting firms frequently assist candidates in obtaining their taxpayer identification numbers.

Points out:

  • You cannot claim the earned income tax credit if you use an ITIN to file your taxes.
  • ITIN always has nine numbers at the start.
  • Expiration: Any individual tax identification number not used at least once on a tax return for any of the tax years 2018, 2019, or 2020 expires at the end of 2021. ITINs with middle digits 70 through 88 and 90 through 99 (if issued before 2013) have likewise passed their expiration dates

Employer identification number (EIN)

The internal revenue service uses the employee identification number (EIN) to identify companies, trusts, and estates required to pay taxes. Employer tax ID numbers are nine digits long, just like social security numbers.

Those who meet the requirements for an employer identification number must apply for one and use it to record their earnings for tax purposes. Applying for an employer identification number is free; businesses can get one immediately.

Points out:

  • Your company could additionally require another state employer ID number.

Adoption tax identification number (ATIN)

The adoption tax identification number is only used in domestic adoptions when the adoptive parents cannot receive the child’s social security number to file their tax returns. The child must be a United States citizen or permanent resident, and the adoption must be pending to qualify.

Points out:

  • You must use your Social Security number instead of this tax ID number to claim the earned income tax credit.
  • Requesting an ATIN takes four to eight weeks after the IRS receives your form W-7A, so do well before the filing deadline.
  • After two years, the IRS will automatically cancel an ATIN unless you inform them that the adoption is still in progress.

Preparer tax identification number (PTIN)

Preparer tax identification number (PTIN) - tin
Image Source: EAPASS/Youtube

According to the internal revenue service, each return must include a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). Using the preparer tax identification number was optional before. Any tax preparer who charges to complete all or part of another person’s tax return must have and use the preparer’s tax identification number.

Points out:

  • PTINs are not required for volunteer preparation.
  • On the PTINs directory of the IRS, you may look for the preparer.

You can obtain a tax identification number by applying to the appropriate agency. For example, the social security administration can provide you with a social security number. You may receive an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) or a business taxpayer identification number (BTIN) directly from the internal revenue service.

If you are authorized to work in the United States or plan to file taxes with the internal revenue service (IRS), you will need a tax identification number (TIN). If you want to take advantage of government benefits or services, you will also need a TIN. You will need a tax identification number (TIN) to operate your day-to-day operations and report your taxes if you run a business or another organization.

The agency that issues your tax identification number (TIN) provides a formal document with your unique identifier. You would not be able to get it online because it is a sensitive piece of information. If you forget or lose your paperwork, you should contact the issuing office, such as the social security administration, to obtain a new tax identification number (TIN)

A tax identification number (TIN), which stands for tax identification number or taxpayer identification number, is the same as a tax Id. A tax identification number (TIN) can be like a social security number. You can use your social security number (SSN) to apply for jobs in the United States, acquire credit from banks and other lenders, and file your annual tax returns with the internal revenue service (IRS).

Uses of tax identification numbers

A TIN must be included on tax-related papers such as withholding forms, returns, and statements. When claiming tax treaty benefits, you must also provide a number. Residents of foreign nations may be taxed at a lower rate or be excluded from U.S. taxes under such treaties.

A TIN must be included in all paperwork submitted to the IRS to claim tax benefits or exclusions or to pay taxes. Employers reporting payments paid to employees must provide the employees’ TINs, and taxpayers filing annual tax returns must include a TIN on the return.

TINs are also used for identification by financial institutions, healthcare organizations, and others. Containers are considered sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) since they are used to identify specific individuals and can be used to access accounts, file insurance claims, apply for loans, and open credit card accounts when combined with other personal information.

Individual taxpayer identification numbers must be kept safe; identity thieves who get personal or business tax Id numbers can use the information to steal money or commit fraud, including tax fraud.

Hackers and identity thieves can steal taxpayer Id numbers or fall into the wrong hands if those with access to them don’t appropriately protect them. In recent years, fraudsters have accessed staff and customer data, including TINs, through data breaches at firms and government agencies.

Why does one need to have a tax identification number?

A tax identification number (TIN) or employer identification number (EIN) is required for any firm in the United States. This number is used to identify a company or a person. If a firm has a personal characteristic as an entity and wishes to pay taxes, it must receive a tax identification number from the government.

Obtaining a tax identification number is one of the steps in forming a limited liability company or an incorporated organization in the United States. A federal tax identification number, commonly known as an employer identification number, is used to identify a company’s entity.

Employer identification numbers are required for businesses that operate as a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company for tax purposes. You must file one of the following tax returns as an employer: work, excise, alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, apart from salaries paid to a non-resident immigrant; withholding taxes on income is a serious violation.

The name of the organization or entity that applied for an employer identification number must be stated, as well as its responsibility for controlling, managing, or directing its assets and finances.

When there are many member partnerships and a small number of shareholders, each portion of the entity or organization wants the internal revenue service to recognize them; thus, there are revision instructions during the application process. Commodities that share or interest are traded on a public market or registered with the Securities and exchange commission are described as responsible parties.

The responsible party is:

  • The officer is responsible if the business is a corporation.
  • The general partner if the business is a partnership.
  • The owner of a business entity is considered the owner and is not disregarded.
  • Trust or owner and all other members who are trusted entities are the responsible parties. They are the people who have some level of control over the business and are entitled and accountable to the assets and funding of the business entity; practically, they are the people responsible. They have the authority to fund, direct, manage, and control the company entity and the right to ownership.

Imputing the services of TIN to build tax solutions

Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) serve as vital identifiers issued by the United States for individuals obligated to pay federal taxes but lack a Social Security Number.

These nine-character numbers, featuring a fourth and fifth-digit range of 70 to 88, play a pivotal role in financial transactions, including bank account openings and loan applications. Crucially, they don’t relate to work authorization or eligibility for earned income tax credits.

ITINs cater to both resident and nonresident alien immigrants, ensuring compliance with tax reporting requirements irrespective of immigration status. They’re indispensable for non-resident aliens seeking to file joint tax returns or temporary visa holders desiring to fulfill tax obligations.

Individuals without Social Security Numbers can obtain an ITIN by completing Form W-7, available at local Social Security offices. Biographical details, supported by original documents such as voter cards, birth certificates, and passports, are essential for application.

Applicants must provide two supporting documents along with a valid federal income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) processes the form within sixty days and returns the supplemental documents. Renewal is necessary after three years of continuous ITIN use.

Privacy is paramount in this process due to the sensitive nature of information shared with the IRS. Any expansion of data sharing would require additional legislative measures.

Acceptance agent services, authorized by the IRS, streamline the ITIN application process by verifying document authenticity and submitting forms to the appropriate IRS office on behalf of applicants. They also issue a certificate of accuracy, expediting the application process.

The ITIN program aims to ensure tax compliance among millions of foreign nationals residing in the United States. ITIN holders utilize their identification numbers to establish residency duration and claim tax credits like the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

How to find your tax ID number?

You can obtain a tax ID number by applying to the appropriate agency. You may get an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service, especially if your company needs one. Moreover, you must gather the required data before beginning the online application procedure. After applying, you must have your EIN confirmation for later use by downloading, printing, or otherwise preserving it.

Is my company eligible?

What is a ein
Image Source: Camina Financial

If your company engages in the following activities, an EIN has required:

  • Employees are compensated
  • Using a corporation or partnership as an operator.
  • Submit tax returns for employment, excise, alcohol, tobacco, and guns.
  • Withholds taxes from income (other than wages) paid to a non-resident immigrant.
  • Utilizes a Keogh Plan, a tax-deferred retirement program.
  • Collaborates with any of the below categories of organization:
    • Trusts, except some revocable trusts owned by the grantor
    • Estates
    • Mortgage investment conduits for real estate
    • Nonprofit institutions
    • Agricultural cooperatives
    • Administrators of plans.

Do not submit more than one EIN application per day

A responsible party may apply for an EIN, according to the IRS. The limit is once every day.  To guarantee equal treatment for all taxpayers, this regulation became effective on May 21, 2012. This restriction applies to email, fax, or postal mail requests.

Obtain a federal tax identification number.

The IRS validates your information after submission. If everything is correct, you’ll have your EIN right away. Depending on your site, you might also need to obtain a state number or charter.


Is SSN the same as a tax identification number?

No, a tax identification number (TIN) and a social security number (SSN) are different. A TIN is a special set of numbers that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues to people and corporations for tax-related reasons. The Social Security Administration (SSA) issues SSNs, which are 9-digit numbers used to monitor individual income and benefits, to citizens, legal residents, and some temporary residents of the United States.

My taxpayer identification number is; where can I locate it?

Usually, your Social Security Number (SSN) serves as your taxpayer identification Number (EIN). You can check your prior year’s tax return and Social Security card or contact your neighborhood IRS office to obtain your taxpayer identification number.

Does anybody have a tax identification number?

No, not everybody includes a tax ID number. A tax ID number is only given to people or companies who need to pay taxes.

Are tax IDs and EINs interchangeable?

Yes, a tax ID and employer identification numbers are the same.


A Tax Identification Number (TIN) serves as a unique identifier for individuals in tax systems worldwide. Countries issue TINs to streamline tax administration and ensure compliance among taxpayers. This initiative aims to consolidate vital tax-related data onto a unified platform, enhancing accessibility and efficiency. By facilitating asset identification for income tax purposes, TINs play a pivotal role in commercial transactions, particularly in industries like trade, manufacturing, and export. Businesses rely on TINs to engage in purchasing and selling goods and services seamlessly.

Moreover, TINs enable easy access to business information across multiple states, fostering smoother intra-state and inter-state transactions. This centralized approach streamlines processes for businesses operating in diverse geographic locations, promoting economic growth and trade expansion. With TINs, governments can effectively monitor and regulate tax activities while providing businesses with the necessary tools for compliance.

In essence, TINs serve as a cornerstone of modern tax systems, facilitating transparency, efficiency, and compliance. Embracing this system empowers both governments and businesses to navigate the complexities of taxation with ease, ultimately contributing to economic development and financial stability.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

Tony Benett makes his living in the insurance industry by teaching and consulting. He is also recognized by the legal profession as an expert on insurance coverages. His insurance experience includes having worked at the company level, owned an independent general agency and having worked for an insurance association. He has received various certificates over the past few years and helps his clients and readers by giving them a realistic outlook on what they can expect to achieve within their set targets. At Insurance Noon, he is known for his in-depth analysis and attention to details with accuracy. He has been published as one of the most referred agents by his peers in the insurance community. Tony loves the outdoors and most sport events. His passion other than providing excellent advice is playing golf.