EIN vs ITIN: What's the Difference and Who Needs Them?

By Brett Melson Tuesday, February 11, 2020

ein vs itinThere are many numbers that are used to identify ourselves and our corporations or LLCs, such as a Social Security number, driver's license number, passport number, DUNS number and EIN (Employer Identification Number).

Many business owners and employees wonder about the differences between the Federal Employer Tax ID number (EIN) and the individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).


The Federal Tax ID Number, known as an EIN, is an identification number used by the IRS to administer tax laws. The Federal Tax ID Number is used to identify an entity to the IRS, banks and other businesses.

Think of this number as the social security number for a business. This number is typically needed to operate your business in the United States, do banking in the United States, hire employees and file taxes with the IRS.

We can help you obtain an EIN for an existing company or form a company and obtain an EIN.

Non-U.S. residents, please note that once you submit your EIN order, you will be required to provide a copy of the passport or government-issued ID for the person listed as the responsible party.


The individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) is a tax number only available to certain non-U.S. residents and resident aliens and their spouses and dependents who are not able to obtain a social security number (SSN). ITINs always start with a "9" and are typically formatted like a Social Security number: 9xx-xx-xxxx.

The ITIN is needed by many non-U.S. residents who form a Delaware corporation or LLC. If there is a tax filing requirement with the IRS, an ITIN is needed.

For example, if a company has U.S. source income and profits or losses that flow through to the member or shareholder, owners typically need to obtain an ITIN in order to complete a tax filing with the IRS.

ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and non-resident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.

Do you need help getting your ITIN? You can obtain an ITIN Number by completing Form W-7 and mailing it to the IRS. Alternatively, you can contact one of the ITIN acceptance agents listed by the IRS for assistance. There are agents available within the U.S. as well many countries internationally.

Next: Tax IDs for Non-U.S. Citizens


*Disclaimer*: Harvard Business Services, Inc. is neither a law firm nor an accounting firm and, even in cases where the author is an attorney, or a tax professional, nothing in this article constitutes legal or tax advice. This article provides general commentary on, and analysis of, the subject addressed. We strongly advise that you consult an attorney or tax professional to receive legal or tax guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Any action taken or not taken based on this article is at your own risk. If an article cites or provides a link to third-party sources or websites, Harvard Business Services, Inc. is not responsible for and makes no representations regarding such source’s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.

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There are 17 comments left for EIN vs ITIN: What's the Difference?

Nery Garcia said: Monday, June 10, 2019

I create an LLC with you, and you helped me get my EIN, I went to different branchs of diffrent banks in the Us trying to open a business bank account but they told me I cannot open a business bank account because I am non us resident. wells fargo asked me for the ITIN, my question is: I am already paying taxes to delaware and the IRS with my EIN, if I get the ITIN, do I have to pay another tax for that? thanks for your answer

HBS Staff replied: Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nery, for this question we recommend you speak with a tax professional. Unfortunately, we do not provide service for ITIN and are unable to answer your question.

Darlene Ellen Smith said: Friday, April 26, 2019

I applied for an EIN number and I received it online yesterday and printed it out however I forgot to apply for it as LLC. What can I do to correct it so it will be under LLC.

HBS Staff replied: Monday, April 29, 2019


[Update: Please contact the IRS directly if you need to make a change to the document you filed with them already.]

Darlene, typically the first step of the process is to form the LLC then build off it from there. If you have obtained the EIN number already, we can help to form the LLC, we would just need this completed www.delawareinc.com/order, if the name is available to be formed we will file your new LLC right away!


AMAZOKAD said: Saturday, March 2, 2019

Hello I am not an American resident. I created an offshore LLC company. I am the owner and I have my EIN. I want to open a bank account in the United States without moving. if I understand correctly the bank will ask me next to my EIN the ITIN. My question is this: since I have the EIN it means that the IRS has already created an ITIN for me just enough to ask. Or do I have to fill out another form specifically for the ITIN? Cdt OKAD MARKET

HBS Staff replied: Monday, March 4, 2019

The ITIN is not a number that is automatically generated when the EIN number is obtained. A number of our clients have used Seaford Management LLC to obtain their ITIN. Seaford Management LLC is a Certifying Acceptance Agent with the IRS, and they can file your application to obtain an ITIN number. If you have any questions about the ITIN, or would like to get an ITIN, you can email Seaford Management LLC or call them at (302) 990-9003.

Andreina said: Tuesday, September 25, 2018

This is more of a question? I have an ITIN number already... I need to know if I'm able to use it to apply for an apartment or maybe purchase a car... Or is it only for taxes? And if I'm not working.. how do I go about filing.. or may the pertim staying with use it on there taxes? So many more questions not enough time.. would love your help and advice...

HBS Staff replied: Thursday, September 27, 2018

We can't provide advice on how to use your ITIN except that any vendor or agent requesting a tax ID will be able to tell you if the ITIN is sufficient or if they need a personal Tax ID. We encourage you to check with a tax professional if you have specific questions about where you can use your ITIN.

Katia said: Saturday, May 26, 2018

Hi!! If i want to form a new LLC, and im not a US resident. Do I need to Get an ITIN number to start the LLC? I mean the ITIN Is required before or as a part of the files needed to obtain the EIN and Open a business Bank acount? And, do you could help us un the end-to-end process to start a new LLC? Do You have spanish support? Thanks

HBS Staff replied: Tuesday, May 29, 2018

We can best answer those questions for you if you call 1-800-345-2677 during business hours 9-5 EST. Ask to speak to Alex Oliveras, as he speaks Spanish.

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