EIN vs. ITIN vs. SSN: Different Tax Numbers

A taxpayer identification number, whether it’s EIN, ITIN, or SSN, is used to verify the taxpayer’s identity. Without these numbers, the Internal Revenue Service wouldn’t know who’s preparing the tax forms. Different taxpayer identification numbers raise questions about their functionality and where they’re used, but the purpose of all are the same. 

When preparing a tax form or return, different taxpayer identification numbers are used, depending on the taxpayer’s situation. While Social Security Number is going to be the most commonly used taxpayer identification number, not everyone is eligible to get one. Still, these taxpayers have tax obligations that they must fulfill, whether an employee or an employer.

This article will go over everything you need to know about different taxpayer identification numbers, EIN, ITIN, and SSN.

EIN – Employer Identification Number

An employer identification number is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. This number identifies the businesses. When filling out a tax form to report income paid, business owners must use their employer identification number, not the SSN.

An individual may have more than one employer identification number. You can’t use the same EIN for other businesses you own. Each EIN must be unique, and you must apply for one using Form SS-4 or through an online application. 

ITIN – Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

As mentioned above, some taxpayers aren’t eligible for a Social Security Number. Still, they might have some tax obligations. Even if you’re a US person who doesn’t have a Social Security Number, you must get a tax identification number, which is the individual taxpayer identification number. 

The same as applying for EIN, you must submit a tax form to apply for ITIN. However, you can’t apply for ITIN the same way you do with EIN online. There isn’t a get ITIN online tool, so you must either submit Form W-7 or go to the local IRS office. Once you get ITIN, you can use it on relevant tax forms that you need to identify yourself, like a federal income tax return.

SSN – Social Security Number

This is the most commonly used taxpayer identification number. This is issued to all US citizens and permanent residents, those who have a Green card. You can use your Social Security Number in almost all government and tax filing aspects. Use it to identify yourself on your federal income tax return and other tax forms. 

The difference between EIN and SSN will come in when you need to distinguish yourself from your business. Use your SSN on personal matters, such as filing a federal income tax return and EIN on information returns like W-2 and 1099s. 

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