Taxpayer Identification Number

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A Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identifying number used for tax purposes in the United States. It is also known as a Tax Identification Number or Federal Taxpayer Identification Number. A TIN may be assigned by the Social Security Administration or by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Types of TINs[edit]

A Taxpayer Identification Number is not itself given out under that name, but instead is the term used to describe any of the governmentally provided numbers that can be used in the US as a unique identifier when interacting with the IRS.

A TIN may be:

  • a Social Security number(SSN)
  • an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number)
  • an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number, used as a temporary number for a child for whom the adopting parents cannot obtain an SSN[1]
  • a Preparer Tax Identification Number, used by paid preparers of U.S. tax returns[2]


SSNs are used by individuals who have (or had) the right to work in the United States.


ITNs are used by aliens who may or may not have the right to work in the US, such as aliens on temporary visas and non-resident aliens with US income. Often people need the identification number because they have been advised by a bank that no account will be opened without a number, even if the account is being opened by a non-profit organization.


EINs are used by employers, sole proprietors, corporations, LLCs, partnerships, non-profit associations, trusts, estates of decedents, government agencies, certain individuals, and other business entities.

Relevant Internal Revenue Code sections[edit]

Section 6109(a) of the Internal Revenue 26957

Code provides (in part) that "When required by regulations prescribed by the Secretary [of the Treasury or his delegate] [ . . . ] Any person required under the authority of this title [i.e., under the Internal Revenue Code] to make a return, statement, or other document shall include in such return, statement or other document such identifying number as may be prescribed for securing proper identification of such person."[3]

Internal Revenue Code section 6109(d) provides: "The social security account number issued to an individual for purposes of section 205(c)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act [codified as 42 U.S.C. § 405(c)(2)(A)] shall, except as shall otherwise be specified under regulations of the Secretary [of the Treasury or his delegate], be used as the identifying number for such individual for purposes of this title [the Internal Revenue Code, title 26 of the United States Code]."[4]

See also[edit]

US taxation[edit]

  • Federal government of the United States
  • Taxation in the United States

Number use[edit]


  1. IRS website: Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number
  2. IRS website: PTIN Requirements for Tax Return Preparers
  3. See subsection (a), paragraph (1) of 26 U.S.C. § 6109.
  4. See subsection (d) of 26 U.S.C. § 6109.

External links[edit]

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