Besides the fact that April is one of the rainiest times of the year (and I'm basically a cat in human clothing), I always dread the fourth month of the year because of Tax Day. I personally find filing taxes to be incredibly confusing and stressful — TBH, it's my least favorite part of adulthood. And to do it successfully, you'll have to find each of your taxpayer identification numbers beforehand. So if you aren't sure where to start, here's how to find your tax ID number. Trust me— you'll definitely thank me later.
OK to start, your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is essentially what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses to identify you and track payments, according to IRS.gov. They're administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the IRS, and they're pretty much included with any and all of your returns, statements, and other tax-related documents.
One of the most commonly used TINs that you've probably had to use at some point or another to apply for jobs, housing, and even college is your nine-digit Social Security Number. If you don't already have one, though, per IRS.gov, you will have to complete a SS-5 Application, and submit evidence of your identity, age, and U.S. citizenship. Make sure to check out the Social Security Administration website or visit your local Social Security office if you need additional information. Still with me?
Another tax number you will definitely need for filing taxes is your Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is essentially what the IRS uses to identify a business, according to IRS.gov. You will be able to get this from your employer, who will most likely have it on file. Make sure to refer to the IRS' Employer ID Numbers page for more information, if you're confused.
If you're someone who needs to access an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, (ITIN), it's likely if you or your spouse were not born in the United States, or if you don't already have a Social Security Number. To get one, you will fill out Form W-7, and bring it to any IRS walk-in office. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Finally, if you happen to be adopting a child from the U.S., you will probably end up needing an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) to get a temporary social security number for them. According to IRS.gov, it's a temporary nine-digit number, and to apply for one, all you need to do is fill out Form W-7A. They recommend doing this ahead of time to ensure you get it in time for getting those tax returns, baby.
Given that your TIN must be on your tax returns when you file, it's good to know exactly how and where to find yours.
There's a chance your tax refund will be lower this year, and trust me, it's not your fault. Data from the IRS shows that as of Feb. 1, 2019 the average tax refund was down 8.4 percent from 2018. Last year, the average refund was $2,053 and was at $1,865 for 2019 at the time of the February data. The U.S. Treasury tweeted at the time that it was standard for the time of year, as the tax filing end date was still a little under two months away. Elite Daily reached out to the IRS for further comment on the drop in tax refunds, but did not immediately hear back. With just under a month until the big day, it'll be interesting to see how the final numbers pan out.
Don't get me wrong — taxes are perplexing as can be. But once you have whichever TIN you need, it's relatively straight-forward. You may still have to call your mom one (or a hundred) times (I know I definitely will), but otherwise, you'll totally be prepared to go. Tax refund, here I come.