Apply for a Social Security Number using federal Form SS-5. Take your completed application to the Social Security office which services your area. If you are unsure of its location, go to the Social Security web site for a full list (see Resources). If your application for a Social Security Number for your foreign spouse is approved, then you can use his or her Social Security Number to file a joint income tax return with your spouse.
Contact the IRS to request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if your spouse does not have a or does not qualify for a Social Security Number. Although the ITIN cannot be used for the purposes of qualifying for government benefits or as a legal authorization to work in the U.S., the ITIN does provide your spouse with a number which can be used in lieu of a Social Security Number in order to file income taxes. The IRS issues ITINS to taxpayers who have a filing requirement but do not qualify for a Social Security Number. The processing time frame for an ITIN application is four to six weeks. Also, be advised that taxpayers are not allowed to possess both an ITIN and a Social Security Number. So be sure to only apply for an ITIN only after you've been denied a Social Security Number. In order to apply for an ITIN, complete IRS Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, and attach to it the tax return for you and your foreign spouse. Also include with your application certified proof of your foreign spouse's identity such as his or her original birth certificate or driver's license. Mail the application and the attached information to:
Internal Revenue Service
Austin Service Center
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
If you do not receive a letter within four to six weeks listing your spouse's ITIN number, call the IRS at 1-800-828-1040 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-828-1040 end_of_the_skype_highlighting You should also call this number if you are having trouble completing your ITIN application.
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