A Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identification number used by the IRS in the administration of tax laws. It is issued either by the SSA or by the IRS. A Social Security number (SSN) is issued by the SSA and all other TINs are issued by the IRS.
U.S. citizens and lawful aliens must use a SSN on their employment tax forms. Nonresidents and resident aliens may have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), but that may not be used for employment purposes. It can be tricky to distinguish a SSN from an ITIN since both are nine digit numbers. However, an ITIN always begins with a nine and has either a seven or an eight as the fourth digit:
9XX-7X-XXXX or 9XX-8X-XXXX
In short, if an employee doesn’t have a SSN, they cannot work.
The completion of W-2s for employees takes us back to the importance of onboarding employees and getting all of the information needed to set them up for any insurance, payroll, taxes, etc. For help with this type of HR administration, please call us at 678-208-2802.