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I am a New Zealand citizen, and legal resident of Mexico (not the US - I have only B1/B2 visa for the US). I have funds in the US in an American bank account (in my name). Recently I have considered using some of these funds (say $500, so not much) to buy some shares or crypto or similar.

I am now wondering, if I actually make money from these (which is the hope), can I legally accept those profits into my US bank account? Do I need a SSN (Social Security Number) or file taxes as a result? I don't want to be breaking any laws.

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    You don't need an SSN (and couldn't get one, pretty sure), if you have enough capital gain to require income tax filing you apply for an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) and file your taxes with that, I don't recall what would create a filing requirement for a non-resident offhand. – Hart CO Jan 26 '18 at 16:25
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    As @HartCO says, you shouldn't need an SSN. But I suggest you read this information about the W8-BEN form that might be relevant, because you will be subject to a 30% withholding on any US-derived income. – Peter K. Jan 26 '18 at 16:56
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    IINM (and this area is complex) dividends (paid by some stocks but no cryptocurrencies) and interest (including bond discount called OID treated as interest) from US source to a nonresident are US taxed, but US source capital gains other than real property (and not connected to a US trade or business you conduct) are not. But yes definitely read the instructions; in addition to the specific forms, you might want pub 519, especially if you have trouble fallling asleep. Good luck. – dave_thompson_085 Jan 26 '18 at 17:46
  • Thanks for the comments and the links for extra reading @HartCO PeterK Dave – Midavalo Jan 29 '18 at 0:37
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You are generally only eligible to apply for a Social Security Number if you currently have a status that authorizes you to work in the US. You don't have such a status, so you cannot apply for a Social Security Number. If you have never gotten a Social Security Number, and you need to file US taxes, you will need to get an ITIN. Depending on the amount of income you get, you may or may not be required to file taxes, though if you have taxes withheld, you probably should file in order to get a refund.

  • OK thank you - that's kind of what I thought (about SSN) but wasn't sure how I paid taxes, if required, if I couldn't get an SSN. I'll have to read up on ITIN. – Midavalo Jan 29 '18 at 0:37

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