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My Ex-Husband Passed Away and I Need to Find His ITIN

Written by Steve Rhode


Dear Steve,

My husband passed away a few years after an amicable divorce. IRS would like me to check on my survivor benefits before claiming my own but can’t find a trace of his ITIN. IRS no longer has the records, INS wasn’t helpful, the previous employer no longer has his records, SSA says they don’t have access to those records.

How could I find his ITIN? Would that record still exist anywhere?



Dear Kay,

That is an interesting predicament for sure. The IRS says, “All ITINs not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will expire on December 31, 2018. Additionally, all ITINs issued before 2013 with middle digits of 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81, or 82 (Example: (9XX-73-XXXX) will also expire at the end of the year.” So time is of the essence.

For those who don’t know what an ITIN is, it is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. This is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get a Social Security Number (SSN). It is a 9-digit number, beginning with the number “9”, formatted like an SSN (NNN-NN-NNNN).

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The most logical solution that comes to mind is to request a tax account transcript for your ex-husband. The tax account transcript shows basic data such as return type, marital status, adjusted gross income, taxable income and all payment types. It also shows changes made after you filed your original return. This transcript is available for the current tax year and up to 10 prior years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T.

However, if you ever filed tax returns jointly you may find his ITIN on your past joint tax return.

Since you are divorced you most likely don’t have the legal authority to request his tax history and getting his individual transcript without the ITIN is probably not going to work. Darn.

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What about checking with companies he may have had financial relationships with like his bank, credit card company, or loan company. What about your marriage license or his death certificate?

You could also try a Social Security Death Index search for deaths up to a few years ago.

You may also be able to pull a credit report but it can only be done with someone who has the legal authority to act on his behalf after his death. Since this gets into a tricky legal area, and I don’t want you to get into trouble, you may want to consult with an estate attorney in your area.

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Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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