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The UndocuCareer Guide (updated June 2023) provides information for DACA & undocumented college students and professionals in Colorado, including information about graduate school, applying for and using ITIN numbers, working as an independent contractor, professional licenses, and more.
While we try to keep the guide up-to-date, please note that THE GUIDE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE, MAY NOT REPRESENT YOUR SPECIFIC SITUATION, AND MAY NOT BE CURRENT – VERIFY ALL INFORMATION WITH IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS OR OTHER LEGAL OR REGULATORY SPECIALISTS.
The FAQ on DACA for Employers (November 2021) provides helpful information for employers who want to learn more about DACA in workplace.
What is an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number)?
Instead of a social security number, independent contractors can use a 9-digit Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) on their paperwork and when they file taxes. ITINs are renewed regularly.
More information on ITINs can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/individual-taxpayer-identification-number and here: https://www.thedream.us/itin/
Applying for and using an ITIN
An independent contractor will need either a social security number or a renewable Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to get paid or file taxes. Here is some basic information about ITINs:
It was created for tax purposes. The ITIN program was created by the IRS in July 1996 so that foreign nationals and other individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number (SSN) can pay the taxes they are legally required to pay.
ITINs are not SSNs. The ITIN is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, for example 9XX-7X-XXXX.
If your parents claimed you as a dependent on their taxes, and used an ITIN, then you may already have an ITIN. Check with your parents!
Many immigrants have ITINs. People who do not have a lawful status in the United States may obtain an ITIN. In addition, the following people are lawfully in the country and must pay taxes but may not be eligible for a SSN and may obtain an ITIN:
A non-resident foreign national who owns or invests in a U.S. business and receives taxable income from that U.S. business, but lives in another country.
A foreign national student who qualifies as a resident of the United States (based on days present in the United States).
A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
A dependent or spouse of a foreign national on a temporary visa.
As of August 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued nearly 24 million ITINs, and they are used by different types of workers and in different types of situations. Applying for an ITIN is not uncommon and shouldn’t be scary. The process of obtaining an ITIN involves presenting a packet of 3 items to the IRS:
→ The ITIN application (this is Form W-7, and it includes the instructions for where to mail the packet)
→ A signed tax return (this is important since it indicates that you owe taxes or are due a refund, which is why you need an ITIN)
→ Proof of Identity and proof of Foreign Status (a passport meets these requirements, although there are other options)
There are a number of organizations in the Denver area than can help you apply for and use an ITIN, such as the Mi Casa Resource Center (https://micasaresourcecenter.org/) or the Denver Asset Building Coalition (http://www.denverabc.org).
Some websites that list a large number of contract-based professional opportunities are:
Some of these job sites require that you select “contract employment” under job type to display those professional opportunities in your area.