Economic Stimulus Payment Q&As: Taxpayer Identification Numbers


Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

Updated July 17, 2008

Following are answers to questions regarding economic stimulus payments. Scroll down the list for information on taxpayer identification numbers or choose from one of the following categories:

  1. Eligibility
  2. When Will I Get the Payment?
  3. Did I Get the Right Amount?
  4. Amended Returns
  5. Change of Address
  6. Taxpayer Identification Numbers
  7. Direct Deposit
  8. Armed Forces
  9. Business
  10. Offsets, Taxpayers Outside the U.S. and Other Questions

Taxpayer Identification Numbers

Q. I file using an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Can I still get a stimulus payment?

A. In most cases, the law does not allow stimulus payments for people who file a return using an ITIN. A taxpayer generally needs a valid Social Security number to qualify for the stimulus payment. If married filing jointly, both taxpayers must have a valid Social Security number — the only exception is a joint return on which either spouse is a member of the armed forces. Children must have valid Social Security numbers to be eligible as qualifying children.

Q. If I currently have an ITIN and file my return using it but later this year get an SSN, can I amend my return to get the payment or will I need to wait until I file my 2008 return to claim it?

A. You will need to wait until you file your 2008 income tax return.

Q. I have an ITIN, but my spouse has a valid Social Security number. Can we get a payment?

A. In most cases, if you and your spouse file a joint return, you will not get a stimulus payment. There is only one exception to this rule: If either you or your spouse is a member of the U.S. military, you will get a payment in November. If your spouse files a separate return, your spouse may qualify for a payment, based on his or her income deductions and credits.

Q. If I have a spouse with an ITIN and choose "married filing separately" status to qualify for the economic stimulus payment and later on amend my original return to "married filing jointly" status, will I need to return the stimulus payment?

A. No.

Q. If I have a valid Social Security number and my child has an ITIN, do I get extra money for the child?

A. Generally speaking, no. You cannot get the extra credit for your children unless everyone listed on the return has a valid Social Security number. This includes you and your qualifying children. If you file a joint return, your spouse must generally have a valid SSN as well. The only exception is when at least one of the spouses is a member of the Armed Forces.

Q. I adopted a child this year and my child has an ATIN (Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number). Will I receive the $300 additional child payment?

A. An ATIN is issued by the IRS as a temporary taxpayer identification number for the child. Adoptive parents who do not yet have a Social Security number for their child generally will not get the stimulus payment. However, if they receive a Social Security number for the child before the end of 2008, they can claim the additional child payment on their 2008 tax return