Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Filing Basics

Verifying Taxpayer Identity

Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers

IRS regulations require that each person listed on a U.S. federal income tax return have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). The types of TINs are:

  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN)

Social Security Numbers

One of the first things you should do when preparing a tax return is to ask for a social security card for each individual who will be listed on the return. Then, verify the accuracy of the social security numbers and the spelling of each name by ensuring that the information on the tax return matches the social security cards.

Taxpayers who cannot substantiate their identity should seek a professional tax preparer.

More Information

Canadians have a number that is like a social security number, but it's for their old age pension. Do not use this number on a U.S. tax return. Canadians often have both a U.S. and Canadian social security number.

Portion of Form 1040 and social security card. Social security number on card is different than SSN on tax form.