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

Filing Basics

Verifying Taxpayer Identity

No Valid SSN or ITIN

Explain to taxpayers without valid SSNs that they must have a taxpayer identification number before you can assist them. Direct them to the Social Security Administration and advise them to complete Form SS-5, Social Security Number Application. Refer individuals who are not eligible for a SSN to the IRS for Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

For taxpayers who cannot obtain a SSN and have not yet applied for an ITIN, you can use a temporary identification number to prepare the return in the tax software.

When preparing a tax return for an ITIN application, include all Forms W-2, even if the SSN on the W-2 does not belong to the taxpayer. Do not change any information on the W-2. Send it in with the return as it is. Since it is not going to be transmitted electronically, it does not matter if the SSN does not match in the tax software.


Taxpayers can get an instant benefit verification letter on the social security website using their my Social Security account.