What is the Difference Between the FEIN and ITIN?

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As many of you may know, it is common to encounter tax-related fields on forms issued for immigration purposes. Two of these fields include the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). It is important to understand the difference between these numbers and the meaning each holds.

The FEIN, sometimes referred to as the EIN, helps classify businesses for tax-related purposes. In the immigration context, a FEIN allows the government to link company profiles with immigrants and visa holders. This number also distinguishes a company as a separate entity from other affiliates, parent companies or subsidiaries. A FEIN consists of nine numerical digits in a “XX-XXXXXXX” format.

Each FEIN has its own immigration profile for employment and tracking information by USCIS. Thus, when an applicant or employer submits immigration forms to USCIS, the FEIN alerts the government that an employer is sponsoring the immigrant and it allows USCIS to check for any previous immigration violations from that employer.

The ITIN is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get a Social Security number from the Social Security Administration. Essentially, it is a tool used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure that people pay taxes and comply with U.S. tax law even if they do not have a Social Security number.

There is often a great deal of confusion over the ITIN primarily due to uncertainty about who it applies to. Examples of individuals who need an ITIN include: 1) non-resident aliens who own or invest in a U.S. business but live in another country; 2) foreign born students living in the U.S. without work authorization; 3) a spouse or dependent of a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident; and 4) a spouse or dependent of a legal immigrant on a temporary visa. The ITIN is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number “9” and has a “7” or “8” in the fourth digit (e.g. “9XX-7X-XXXX”).

When applying for status in the U.S., it is imperative that each government form is properly completed and that all necessary documents are included in your petition. This process can be stressful and have significant repercussions if not done correctly. Berardi Immigration Law welcomes you to schedule a consultation today and allow us to assist you.

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