If You Don't Have A Social Security Number, Don't Worry

The IRS has been tightening rules governing identification numbers given to taxpayers and others who are not candidates for Social Security numbers.

States have been warned not to trust the numbers as a valid form of ID, noting the numbers are intended for exclusive use in the handling of tax matters.

People who don't have Social Security numbers may request Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers so the IRS can track their tax returns, and millions of these numbers have been issued in recent years.

The IRS says about 25% of the numbers issued for tax purposes never find their way onto a tax return. The problem is, several states allow people to use the number in place of a Social Security number to apply for a drivers license.

So, another change in the wake of 9-11 -- increased concern about drivers license issuance -- is involving the tax ID numbers. Now, with the new restrictions, taxpayers asking for a new number must provide a completed income tax return with their application, and those applications made without proof of tax needs are promised to get immediate rejection.

The IRS has also changed the appearance of the tax identification number certificate hoping to keep it from being confused with a Social Security card.