Q: When did Social Security numbers start being used for tax ID?
A: President Kennedy signed into law Public Law 87-397 on October 5, 1961. This legislation was designed to cut down on tax cheating by assigning a tax identity number to every taxpayer.
In 1962, the Internal Revenue Service adopted the Social Security number (SSN) as its official taxpayer identification number. IRS assigns a tax number to people not eligible for a SSN.
The Tax Reform Act of 1986, signed into law by President Reagan, required that every dependent age 5 or older listed on a tax return had to have his or her own SSN. This new requirement doubled the Social Security number workload the following year.
Related to this, many children today receive a Social Security number (SSN) as part of their birth registration, a process called Enumeration at Birth. Starting when birth certificate information is provided at the hospital, this voluntary and free process allows the state agency issuing birth certificates to share information about the child with the Social Security Administration. A SSN is then provided to the child and mailed to the parents without any additional paperwork or cost.
More about Social Security numbers for children is here. General information for obtaining, updating or replacing a SSN card is at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber/. There is no charge for any SSN activity.