My question has to do with the tax ID issued to an individual within the ITIN numbering scheme—are ITINs only if they are issued to an individual and are in SSN format?


Q. (cont.) We do have companies whose EIN falls within the numbering scheme of the ITINS, but they are EINs, not SSNs. We do have W-8 forms for our vendor EINs that start with 98.

Also, the webinar only mentioned the numbering scheme of 9XX-6/7/8X-XXX for ITINs, but the IRS website also states the following:

What is an ITIN?

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. It is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a range of 70-88 in the fourth and fifth digit. Effective April 12, 2011, the range was extended to include 900-70-0000 through 999-88-9999, 900-90-0000 through 999-92-9999 and 900-94-0000 through 999-99-9999. IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The IRS doesn’t mention a 6 in the fourth position and also includes some 9s in the fourth position. Please confirm for me which one is correct.

A. Actually as of January 1, 2016, the IRS has further expanded the range of ITINs to include numbers with the fourth and fifth digits in the range of 50-65. Some of the information on the IRS web site about ITINs, aimed at applicants, is out of date.  Here is the section of the recent IRS Manual addressing the ITIN format and numbers:

ITINs are nine digits long and begin with the number 9. The fourth and fifth digits will be within the range 50-65, 70-88, 90-92, or 94-99. ITINs normally are formatted as 9XX-ZZ-XXXX where X is any digit and ZZ is a number between 50 and 65, 70 and 88, 90 and 92, or 94 and 99.

You are correct in your assumption that ITINs are issued only to individuals and are in SSN format.

Regarding EINs, the IRS assigns and issues EINs to business entities. In general, businesses should obtain an EIN. Employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profit organizations, trusts and estates, government agencies, certain individuals, and other business entities use EINs. EINs are nine digits long, following the format XX-XXXXXXX where X is a digit. EINs beginning with the number 98 may be an indication of foreign status.

The IRS uses the EIN to identify taxpayers who are required to file various business tax returns. Individuals who are employers may choose to either obtain an EIN or use their Social Security Number for the purpose of reporting taxes withheld on behalf of their employees. Note that the IRS prefers that sole proprietors enter their SSNs rather than their EINs on form W-9. EINs do not expire, although under certain circumstances—such as a change in structure or ownership—a new EIN may be required.

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