Last Updated: December 30, 2020
· lukasz-madon

How to get Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if you are not a U.S. citizen

I would like to share a quick tutorial how to get ITIN number for tax purposes. I is a bit of PITA (pain in the ass), especially for those who do not have access to a proper tax advisor, that is why I share this.

I am Non U.S.-based Developer developer that makes app for WP7 and I will focus on windows marketplace, but this tutorial is also helpful for any person that would like to get ITIN.

What is ITIN?

According to Wikipedia:
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (or ITIN) is a United States tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. It is a nine-digit number that begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, i.e. 9xx-7x-xxxx or 9xx-8x-xxxx. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security Number.

Basically, we need this number to do small business, open an account, for royalties income etc. There is also Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is also useful for tax issues, but it is meant for sole proprietors, not individuals.

Why do I need it?

To take advantage of the tax treaty your country could have with the U.S. and avoid being subject to an automatic 30% U.S. tax withholding. In other words, to pay less taxes, but this is not mandatory to get paid.

What do I need to get it?

You will have to have:
* Filled W-7 form.
* Document that proves your ID (must have a foto of you).
* Letter confirming that you need an ITIN.

W-7 form how to.

Remember, this may vary depending upon country, gender, purpose.
Ok, so let’s start step-by-step.
Section 1 – Reason you are submitting:
Check A – if you are not the U.S citizen/resident
Check H with “Exception 1(d) – Royalty Income“
Treaty Country (Your country goes here) Treaty Article Number (number of the article – you can find it here

Royalty Income Exception if for WP7 developer as well as for inheritance (passing on property, titles, debts, and obligations upon the death of an individual)

Section 2 – Name:
Fill 1a if you have not changed your name.
Section 3 – Applicant’s Mailing Address:
If you have mailing address different than your current address.
Section 4 – Foreign (non-U.S.) address:
Your current business address/home address
Section 5 – Birth Information:
Your birth city. Mind the weird american date notation MM/DD/YYYY (Why months first? no idea ;) )
Section 6 - Other Information:
6a – Your country.
6b – Tax number if you have one.
6c – If you have visa enter date, otherwise ignore it
6d – check Passport, because it is the only document that proves you are foreign and proves your ID.
6e – Check No and ignore 6f, 6g if you didn't have any US tax numbers.

Section 7 – Signature:
Remember to sign (And mind the date!)

Document that proves your ID:

I suggest the passport (the only document that proves you are foreign and proves your ID). Since sending them a passport is a stupid idea (and I think illegal), you need to certificate it. There are many ways to do it, like post office, yet to make sure it will not be rejected go to the nearest embassy/consulate and ask for certification. It costs 50$, but kind lady will do it straight away.

Letter confirming that you need an ITIN.

You may need to provide a letter from Microsoft confirming that you need an ITIN. Click here to download the Microsoft letter, which is provided in PDF format and only in English. The following information must be entered in the Microsoft letter for it to be considered valid:

  • Date: The date you print the form in MM/DD/YYYY format.
  • To: The developer’s full name in first name + last name format.

If you have done all send it to

Mail service
Internal Revenue Service
ITIN Operations
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342

Curier service
Internal Revenue Service
ITIN Operations
Mail Stop 6090-AUSC
3651 S. Interregional, HWY 35
Austin, TX 78741-0000


It took 2 months in my case. Then send the W-8BEN to MS (it will be validated when you reach the payout threshold – 200$).

IRS instructions

3 Responses
Add your response

W-8BEN - What is this form?

over 1 year ago ·

@rockmathew Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding

to get paid

A non-United States–based developer is one who, for federal tax purposes, isn’t considered a United States Person as described in the definition earlier in this topic. You will be paid only after Microsoft receives and processes the appropriate W-8 form, which is usually the W-8BEN form.

over 1 year ago ·

Very Informative Post, It really helped me a lot to Fill up My W-7 form. Thanks a lot for the post.

But "IRS W-7 Instruction" Confused Me in some points. Can you please help me out of this confusion @lukasz-madon ?

I know, You sent Microsoft letter for ITIN.

Beside that, What other supporting documents you sent with the W-7 Form?
*Have you sent Form 1042-S (Tax Return) with W-7 form?
*Have you sent any "Self-generated income statements will only be accepted with a copy of the contract or a letter with a postmarked envelope addressed from the withholding agent."? If yes, how did you managed it, MS Provide you that? How can I managed it?

I am asking this question because of these points in the IRS W-7 instructions:

Exception 1. Passive income—third-party withholding or tax treaty benefits.

This exception may apply if you’re the recipient of partnership income, interest income, annuity income, rental income, or other passive income that is subject to third-party withholding or covered by tax treaty benefits. See Exceptions Tables, later, for more details on Exception 1.
Information returns applicable to Exception 1 may include the following:
Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding.
Form 1099-INT, Interest Income.
Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income.
Form 8805, Foreign Partner’s Information Statement of Section 1446 Withholding Tax.
Schedule K-1 (Form 1065), Partner’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc.

Documentation you must submit if you’re eligible to claim Exception 1.

Exception 1(d) – Royalty Income Required Documents: A signed letter or document from the withholding agent, on official letterhead, showing your name and verifying that an ITIN is required to make distributions to you during the current tax year that are subject to IRS information reporting and/or federal tax withholding. Self-generated income statements will only be accepted with a copy of the contract or a letter with a postmarked envelope addressed from the withholding agent.

Where do I file my Form W-7/W-7(SP)?

By Mail: Mail your completed application, your original U.S. Federal income tax return and any other substantiating
or supporting identification documents listed on the Supporting Documentation Table to:
Internal Revenue Service
ITIN Operations
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342

Hope you will help me to submit proper documents to get ITIN.


over 1 year ago ·