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

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Written by Kristin Turner.  
Updated May 16, 2019

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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 nor really any hard-and-fast differences between an EIN and it's 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 an individuals for tax purposes. An ITIN is only assigned to individuals who are required to have taxpayer identification but who are ineligible to obtain 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.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

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