Creating an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is required for individuals who do not qualify for a Social Security Number but need identification for tax purposes in the United States. To begin the process, applicants must first meet the appropriate criteria. Gathering basic documents, Filling out the W-7 form correctly, and providing supporting materials is an important part of the application process.
The application must be prepared meticulously. It can be sent by post or in person, adhering to the established rules. Timely processing and careful verification ensure successful receipt of ITIN. Process tracking is important. Obtaining an ITIN will allow you to fulfill your tax obligations without any problems.
Creating an ITIN number is very important for those who need the number. That’s why it’s always important to seek professional advice from a US international tax professional.
What is ITIN?
The Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS is the US tax collection agency.
An ITIN is issued to an individual who is required to report income but is not eligible to receive a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration. ITIN is a nine-digit number. Beginning with the number “9”, formatted like an SSN (NNN-NN-NNNN). Use ITIN for tax reporting purposes only.
Eligibility Criteria for ITIN Application
The Internal Revenue Service regulates individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but are not eligible to receive a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Immigration status is not taken into account to issuing an ITIN. Both resident and nonresident aliens may have a filing or reporting requirement in the United States under the Internal Revenue Code.
Individuals must meet an application requirement and file a valid federal income tax return to receive an ITIN unless they meet an exception.
The number of documents accepted as identity and foreignness documents to obtain ITIN was determined by the IRS as 13 documents.
All of these documents must be current and include an expiration date. If no expiration date is available, the Internal Revenue Service will accept documents submitted within 12 months of application.
All documents must include name and photo. The documents must also support your request for alien status. If you will need your original documents for any purpose within 60 days of submitting your ITIN application, you may want to apply in person at the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center, or CAA. Instead, you can choose to send certified copies from the issuing institution.
- Passport (stand-alone document)
- National identification card (must show photo, name, current address, date of birth, and expiration date)
- U.S. driver’s license
- Civil birth certificate (required for dependents under 18 years of age)
- Foreign driver’s license
- U.S. state identification card
- Foreign voter’s registration card
- U.S. military identification card
- Foreign military identification card
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification
- Medical records (dependents only – under 6)
- School records (dependents only – under 14, under 18 if a student)
Filling Out the W-7 Form
Those who earn from the U.S. but are not eligible for a Social Security number must file a federal tax return with the IRS. For non-U.S. citizens, Form W-7 is used to apply for an individual taxpayer identification number.
Form W-7 includes questions such as:
- The reason the applicant needs an ITIN
- The applicant’s name, mailing address, and, if different, foreign address
- The applicant’s birth date and location of birth
- The country where the applicant is a citizen
- The applicant’s foreign tax ID number, if they have one
- The applicant’s U.S. visa number, if applicable
- Details about documents being submitted to verify the applicant’s identity
A tax return accompanied by one or more W-7 forms can’t be submitted electronically. You can send it in person to any IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.
W-7 forms can be mailed to:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, Texas 78714-9342
It takes 6 to 10 weeks to receive the ITIN. If the ITIN has not been used to file a federal tax return within the last 3 years, it will expire at the end of the current year.
Verification and Supporting Documents
To complete the verification process there are some other documents needed;
- Email address
- Smartphone or computer with a camera
- Proof of ITIN: CP565 Notice or bank statement showing full ITIN
- Two additional documents: one primary document and one secondary document or two primary documents, one of which must prove your address.
If you are submitting your ITIN renewal application by mail, be sure to include originals or issuer-certified copies of your identification documents and any other required attachments. You must also include the ITIN assigned to you and the name under which it was issued online.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Many errors can delay applying for an ITIN. These errors may result from missing information or insufficient supporting documentation. Failure to renew the ITIN on time may result in delays in receiving your refund.
Common mistakes while applying to ITIN include;
- Missing W-7 Applications
- Did not indicate the reason for applying
- Missing a completed foreign address
- Mailing the incorrect identification documents
- Insufficient supporting documentation
- Did not include a tax return to validate a tax benefit
Receiving and Using Your ITIN
To file a tax return, you must enter your ITIN in the SSN field on the tax form, fill out the rest of the return, and submit your tax return (along with any additional forms) to the IRS.
Seeking Professional Assistance
Internal Revenue Service Certified Acceptance Agents (CAAs) are entities (individuals, businesses, or organizations) authorized by the IRS to assist individuals in obtaining ITINs. They can review your identification documents and forward them to the Internal Revenue Service to provide a certificate of accuracy so you do not need to send the original documents to the IRS. Using CAA can make the application process faster and safer.
You can visit the Internal Revenue Service website to find a Certified Acceptance Agent.
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