My wife and son do not yet have their SSNs. My wife is a citizen of the UK and my son (3 yrs old in August) was born in the UK. I'm a U.S. citizen. Why they do not yet have their SSNs is a discussion for another day.

  • Are all three of you living in the US, or are you one of those expats who still have to do US taxes? Jun 16 '19 at 1:07
  • Note that, if your son doesn't have an SSN by the tax filing deadline, you cannot claim the $2000 child tax credit for him, and can only claim the $500 tax credit for other dependents.
    – user102008
    Jun 29 '19 at 18:47

You are required to supply a Social Security Number (SSN) when claiming someone as a dependent on your tax return. Or, use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if they are not eligible for an SSN.

In the event of a time crunch (tax deadline approaching) you have two options:

  • Go ahead and file (and not claim them), then later file an amended return with the SSN/ITIN information.
  • Or, you can file for an extension if you expect to have their SSN/ITIN by then.

The IRS site has an FAQ question related to this here, and there is some more ITIN information.

  • 3
    Though note that filing for an extension does not extend the date due for your tax payment, if you owe. You're still expected to pay what you would owe on time. You would probably need to still run the numbers to see what you should owe, and pay that. If your calculations show that you are getting a refund, then that's great, and no penalty for not paying. But, if you owe, you need to pay what you expect to owe. If you don't, you'll get hit with late payment penalties. See irs.gov/newsroom/… for details.
    – Milwrdfan
    Jun 14 '19 at 18:32

The accepted answer is fine for situations where a dependent does not yet have an SSN, but may not be appropriate for when your spouse does not yet have an SSN.

If your spouse is not yet eligible or will not become eligible to get an SSN, you apply for an ITIN when you file your taxes, not before or after filing your tax return.

Fill out your tax return just as you would if they had an SSN/ITIN, but you'll leave their SSN field blank and you'll attach Form W7 to your return, which is the application for ITIN. This means mailing in a paper return.

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    From form W7: "Don’t submit this form if you have, or are eligible to get, a U.S. social security number (SSN)" Jun 15 '19 at 7:27
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    @trognanders I meant not yet eligible but that was worded poorly, edited for clarity, thanks!
    – Hart CO
    Jun 15 '19 at 15:42
  • "If your spouse is not yet eligible or will not become eligible to get an SSN, you apply for an ITIN when you file your taxes, not before or after filing your tax return." You could still apply for an ITIN for your spouse after filing your tax return -- you can file your tax return as Married Filing Separately, and then amend it to Married Filing Jointly later, applying for the ITIN with the amendment.
    – user102008
    Jun 15 '19 at 17:47
  • @user102008 That's appropriate only if the spouse is a non-resident alien. Might be the case here, since OP didn't specify. In any case, you apply for an ITIN when you file your tax return, if your spouse files MFS and you do not file until the amendment, then you still apply when you file.
    – Hart CO
    Jun 15 '19 at 18:36

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