December 05, 1996
Valid Taxpayer Identification Numbers
Needed for Returns
WASHINGTON - Taxpayers need valid identification
numbers for themselves, their spouses and every dependent born before Dec. 1, 1996.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, using correct taxpayer identification numbers
is more important than ever before. Recent tax law changes make valid identification
numbers a requirement for claiming personal exemptions, the child care credit or the
earned income credit.
If a tax return has a missing or incorrect identification number, the IRS may disallow
the related item(s) and correct the tax. For example, if a taxpayer claims one dependent
and the child care credit, but lists an invalid social security number (SSN) for the
dependent, the IRS will increase the taxable income by the personal exemption amount
claimed for the dependent and will not allow the child care credit to be claimed.
If you donşt have an identification number, you should apply now so you'll have it in
time for the tax filing season. Contact the Social Security Administration to obtain SSNs,
which are issued to U.S. citizens and to aliens who have been lawfully admitted for
permanent residence or employment. Nonresident and resident aliens who are not eligible
for SSNs may use Form W-7 to request Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)
from the IRS.
Individuals must use either SSNs or ITINs on their returns -- the IRS will no longer
accept temporary numbers, "applied for" or other designations in lieu of the
required numbers. Only SSNs, not ITINs, may be used by the taxpayer, spouse or child when
claiming the earned income credit.
A taxpayer whose return has a missing or incorrect number will receive a notice with a
special toll-free number to call. If the taxpayer in fact has a valid identification
number, a phone call to the IRS will usually settle the matter.
"While we are making extra efforts to help taxpayers resolve their problems, the
best thing is to avoid complications by using the correct numbers in the first
place," said IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson.
Form W-7, "Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number," is
- through the IRS home page at http://www.irs.gov;
- by modem to Internal Revenue Information Services (IRIS) at 703-321-8020; or
- by calling the IRS forms number, 1-800-TAX-FORM.
In January, Form W-7 will also be available by calling 703-487- 4160 from a fax machine
and requesting item #10229.
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