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News & Tips from an ITIN Acceptance Agent

Just Breve - Case Study - I need an ITIN for my spouse

Just Breve - Case Study - I need an ITIN for my spouse
Just Breve - Case Study - I need an ITIN for my spouse

At Just Breve we receive regular emails from US citizens married to non residents who require (or think they require) an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). In a lot of cases they either do not require one or are ineligible.

As a case study example we received the following (some details have been changed including names):

I'm Jason (US Citizen) inquiring on behalf of my husband, Mike Smith (British Citizen). I would like Mike to have an ITIN purely for Admin purposes on my paperwork (i.e.: US tax returns, inheritance on my Social Security, Pension, etc). It would just make things easier on that end if he had it. We don't intend to move to the US, and we don't intend for Mike to become a Green Card holder (at least, not anytime in the near future).

The above is a typical example of where the US spouse may think an ITIN is needed, but for the following reasons, the spouse is not eligible:

  1. ITINs are issued for tax filing and reporting purposes only - Mike needs to either have US income, a US mortgage or US business to be eligible on his own to apply for an ITIN (or be filing a US tax return). Supporting documents would need to be provided to prove this.

  2. Jason does not want to have Mike enter the US tax system by adding him to his US tax return. As Mike is not therefore filing a US tax return (i.e. a married filing jointly 1040), he is not eligible for an ITIN. If he was filing jointly, Mike would need to elect to file jointly and declare his worldwide income on Jason's tax return. The joint 1040 would be attached to the ITIN application to obtain a new ITIN.

  3. Purely for admin purposes - ITIN's are not issued for admin reasons BUT for federal tax filing or reporting purposes only. See 1. above.

  4. Pre 2018 - an NRA spouse could obtain an ITIN so the US citizen spouse was able to obtain an exemption on their tax filing. This has ceased for 2018 to 2025. It may change in the future but not right now.

  5. Inheritance on my Social Security / US Pension - when the time comes an ITIN may be required for Mike to obtain an ITIN, unfortunately this cannot happen in advance. It can only happen at the time of the claim.

  6. ITIN for a green card application - again, see 1. above - ITINs are issued for fixed reasons relating to federal filing and reporting purposes only. Mike unfortunately cannot obtain an ITIN for the purpose of a US visa application (this applies to all visa types).

If you are in a similar situation or require additional advice/clarification on applying for an ITIN, please get in touch by email or telephone:

Tel: 0208 1444632


Unknown member
Nov 06, 2022

I'm in the exact situation described. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get around providing a SSN or ITIN for my NRA parter. We live and pay taxes in the UK -- what do you recommend?

Just Breve
Just Breve
Nov 07, 2022
Replying to

Hi - your spouse can only apply if filing a US 1040 jointly with you and declaring their worldwide income on your US tax return. If they do not wish to do this they are not eligible, and you would file married filing separately (MFS). If you are filing MFS online and it won't allow you: - try entering all 6's, 9's or 1's - contact the e-file provider to see how this can be done (if their system allows) - paper file the MFS tax return and write NRA on the line for the number Those are the only options. Regards, Just Breve

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