In order to obtain a Basic Business License (BBL) in D.C., you must have one of the following:
- a Social Security Number (SSN);
- a Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
Most (if not all) U.S. citizens and some Green Card holders can use their SSNs when they apply for a BBL.
But if you are a foreign national and you do not qualify for a Social Security Number, don’t give up – you just might qualify for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which will be called ITIN from this point on.
What is an ITIN?
An ITIN is a tax processing number, issued by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is used by the IRS and local governments to administer the tax laws. It’s only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and their dependents who cannot get a Social Security Number.
If you can qualify for an ITIN, then you can use it in place of an SSN.
How do I know if I qualify for an ITIN?
According to the United States Internal Revenue Service, you can apply for an ITIN if all of the following conditions apply to you:
- You do not have an SSN and are not eligible to obtain one.
- You have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal tax return.
- You are in one of the following categories:
- Nonresident alien who is required to file a U.S. tax return
- U.S. resident alien who is (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return
- Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien
- Dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder
- Nonresident alien claiming a tax treaty benefit
- Nonresident alien student, professor or researcher filing a U.S. tax return or claiming an exception
Why do I need an ITIN?
In order to obtain a Basic Business License, you must first open a business tax account, which requires you to have a taxpayer identification number. This taxpayer identification number will also be required when you open your business tax account.
How long does it take to get an ITIN?
According to the IRS, it usually takes up to seven weeks to obtain an ITIN.
How do I apply for an ITIN?
You can apply for an ITIN directly through the Internal Revenue Service or through a Certifying Acceptance Agent, who is authorized to assist foreign persons who do not qualify for a Social Security number but who still need an ITIN.
We recommend reviewing this quick, one-page guide from the IRS: How do I apply for an ITIN?
It will tell you everything you need to know for getting an ITIN.
Can RentJiffy assist me with obtaining an ITIN?
No. RentJiffy is not a tax preparation service, tax consulting company, or a Certifying Acceptance Agent.
Does RentJiffy have recommendations for Certifying Acceptance Agents I can work with to obtain an ITIN?
No, unfortunately we do not have recommendations for any specific agents. We recommend looking at the IRS-provided listing of Acceptance Agents: U.S. Acceptance Agents by State.
Is there anything else I should know with regard to the licensing process and having an ITIN?
Yes. Keep in mind that you will likely have a tax filing that needs to be completed periodically using your ITIN. You should seek the advice of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who can advise you on tax matters and assist you with any required filings. A CPA is a licensed professional who provides tax advice and guidance for U.S. Federal and D.C. Government requirements, and who helps you prepare and file the returns/forms when they are due.
Can RentJiffy recommend a Certified Public Accountant to handle taxes on by behalf?
Yes, we recommend Michael Fine of Finesse Tax Accounting.
Note: Michael Fine and Finesse Tax Accounting are not Certifying Acceptance Agents and cannot assist with obtaining an ITIN.
Finesse Tax Accounting
When can I begin the business license application process?
As soon as you have been issued a Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, you can begin the process.
Some websites/links we thought you might find helpful: