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What is the difference between an EIN, TIN, and ITIN?

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In a Nutshell

The acronyms that the IRS uses to identify the different types of taxpayer identification numbers can be confusing, and we get a lot of questions about these three in particular.

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad.  
Updated October 18, 2021


The acronyms that the IRS uses to identify the different types of taxpayer identification numbers can be confusing, and we get a lot of questions about these three in particular. Let's break it down:

EIN

This is a tax ID for businesses. It stands for "Employer Identification Number," and is a nine-digit number used to identify a business entity (like a corporation or an LLC) for tax purposes. There are no really any hard-and-fast differences between an EIN and its counterpart, a TIN, other than that TINs are generally only assigned to companies that have employees.

TIN 

This is a tax ID for businesses. It stands for "Taxpayer Identification Number," and it is basically the same thing as an EIN. Usually, TINs are assigned to businesses that have employees.

ITIN

This is a tax ID for individuals. It stands for "Individual Taxpayer Identification Number," and is a nine-digit number used to identify individuals for tax purposes. An ITIN is only assigned to individuals who are required to have a taxpayer identification but are ineligible to get a Social Security Number (SSN).

For purposes of filing bankruptcy you would use...

  • your Social Security Number or ITIN to identify yourself, and

  • your EIN or TIN to identify your business.



Written By:

Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad

LinkedIn

Kristin is a recipient of Harvard Law School’s Public Welfare Foundation A2J Tech Fellowship. At Harvard Law, she served as a member of the Harvard Defenders, the Women’s Law Association, and the Harvard Law Negotiation Review. She was the 2016 – 2017 president of the Harvard Bla... read more about Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad

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