Social security number for taxes
Social security number for taxes

Do I Need a Social Security Number to File My Taxes?

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It’s amazing how fast this year is going and how we’re now in March! Next month is the big tax deadline – how are you doing?

If you haven’t submitted (or started yet!), that’s okay, there’s still time to knock it out.

One reason you may be hesitating on getting your taxes submitted is that you have other things on your mind or you may have some questions.

One question you may have is whether or not you need a social security number to file your return.

The answer may surprise you!

Who Needs to File Taxes?

First off, we need to answer the bigger question people ask about taxes – who needs to file them?

The answer depends on a few factors, but one of them is whether your income hits a certain IRS threshold requirement for filing which is also based on your filing status, type of income, and age. The threshold is also generally your standard deduction amount.

Generally speaking, if you earn less than the standard deduction for your filing status ($12,200 single, $18,350 head of household, and $24,400 married filing jointly), then you may not have to file your taxes. However, you may want to if you had taxes withheld from your paycheck as you may get them back in a tax refund.

If you’re self-employed, your income threshold is different. When you are self-employed you need to file your taxes if your net self-employment income is $400 or more. You also need to report income reported on 1099-Misc from your self-employed work. You will receive a 1099-Misc if you made $600 or more.

Other situations where you may need to file taxes include:

  • U.S. resident aliens who need to file tax returns
  • Spouse or dependents of a U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • Nonresident aliens with a tax filing requirement

So if any of those situations fit you, then yes, you do need to file taxes.

Now we get to the question, do I need to have a social security number to file taxes?

You may think a social security number is an absolute requirement to file, but it’s not.

U.S. government issues social security numbers for citizens, which employers can use when reporting taxes they withheld.

If you’re immigrating into the U.S. and applying for a visa, you may also apply for a Social security number.

However, if you do not have a social security number now and have to file taxes, you can file if you have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

If you don’t have a social security number, however, there may be some tax benefits that require a social security number in order to get them like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.

What’s an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number?

Your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is nine digits and formatted like a social security number, but it’s not the same.

For example, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number shouldn’t be understood to mean one is authorized to work in the United States or qualify you for Social Security benefits.

However, having your ITIN can allow you to file your taxes in a timely manner.

How You Can Get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

Here’s how:

  • Fill out a W-7 (Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number)
  • Proof of identity
  • Foreign status documents
  • Prove that you need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) for taxes. Typically filers do this by providing their tax return along with their W-7

Hopefully, you already have your ITIN or you’ll have it before you need to submit your taxes.

Did you know you can file your taxes online with your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number? You can start your taxes today with TurboTax and make it even easier with the interview style approach!

Got More Questions About Taxes?

I hope this information makes taxes a little less stressful. Don’t worry about knowing these rules. TurboTax will ask you simple questions about you and give you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible based on your entries. If you have already started filing your taxes and need help, please check out TurboTax Live. With TurboTax Live you can connect live via one-way video, to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent to get your tax questions answered. TurboTax Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are available in English and Spanish, year-round, and can also review, sign, and file your taxes.


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