How to sell on Etsy without SSN?

An SSN or Social Security Number is a nine-digit number issued by the U.S government to its citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents under section 205 of the Social Security Act, codified as 42 U.S.C. They use SSN to keep track of people’s lifetime earnings and the number of years worked. An SSN is not only used to track individuals, but it also serves as a de facto national identification number for taxation and other purposes. It is also crucial in opening a business, whether in a physical store or online like Etsy.

Not all sellers in Etsy are U.S based. Therefore, not everyone can secure SSN. In that case, Etsy will still allow a seller to operate and legally start a business on the platform. Etsy does not require a seller to provide a social security number to deposit funds into his account. Routing number and account number would do.  SSN is only needed in Etsy when extending credits, or you’re reaching a certain number of sales per annum.

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Can I sell online without SSN?

Of course, you can sell online even without SSN, especially if you don’t qualify for a Social Security Number. If you don’t have SSN, you can use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to have profited through entrepreneurship. Not all sellers are qualified to have SSN, like a non-United States citizen, a non-resident alien, resident aliens, spouses, or dependents of resident/non-resident aliens. In that case, you can apply for an ITIN. To apply: 

  1. Fill out a W-7 form from the IRS website. 
  2. Attach a valid federal income tax return, proof of identification, and foreign status documents.
  3. Send documents through mail at the Internal Revenue Service, Austin Service Center ITIN Operation, P.O. Box 149342, Austin, TX 78714-9342

Should you need more information or help, you can always contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and 267-941-1000 if you are outside of the U.S. Make sure to apply before the due date for the tax return to avoid any penalties. 

Laptop on an office table with a sample of Social Security Form on the laptop

How to sign up on Etsy without SSN?

You can always do the regular sign-up process in Etsy because Social Security Number is not a required field in Etsy sign-up form. Etsy will only ask your SSN if they are extending credit to your account. Also, Etsy may request your social security number if you start to earn a certain amount of money per year, so they can file a 1099-K form and report the earnings to the IRS.

Can you use EIN instead of SSN in Etsy? 

Sole proprietorships and LLC without employees do not need an EIN. Employer identification number or EIN is only used when you have employees in your business.  It works like an SSN for a business, so you can file taxes, open a bank account, apply for loans and licenses. Etsy sellers who organized themselves legally as U.S. businesses in Etsy can use a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) as proof of identification in opening a business or updating their tax information. U.S. Sellers need to update their tax information to offer Etsy Payments. If they fail to update tax information, Etsy Payments may be deactivated until they update with valid information.

Can you get paid in Etsy without SSN? 

You can get paid in Etsy without your SSN because Etsy does not need to use your social security to deposit funds into your account. Etsy only needs the routing number and account number in your chosen payment method. Your fees will appear in the Amount due, processed funds through your chosen payment method. SSN is not required for you to get paid in Etsy. However, SSN is needed if you are setting up an Etsy Payment method. It is the most convenient payment option on Etsy. Fees are deducted automatically from their sales. 

How does an Etsy seller pay taxes without SSN?  

You can use a nine-digit Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to file an income tax return if you do not have a valid Social Security Number. You can apply for your tax ID from the Internal Revenue Service. Etsy sellers whether they are US citizens, residents, or nonresident aliens can get ITINs. Therefore, even if you live offshore, you can still file for your tax obligations. Etsy shops that meet the requirements for businesses are obliged to pay taxes. Etsy sellers pay taxes each quarter per the estimated annual income per year. To file a tax return, enter your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number in the space provided for the Social Security Number, complete the rest of the return, and submit the tax return to the Internal Revenue Service. 

How to sell as a foreign seller without SSN?

Upon setting up your store in Etsy, you can indicate your country. And since SSN is not a required field, any foreign seller can complete the sign-up on Etsy.  They can also choose any payment option that will not require SSN. What is important is that you have proof of identity because Etsy will ask you to upload your ID before you can sell.

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