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We have signed an agreement with IRS to process W7 (ITIN) applications as Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA). A CAA is an individual, business or organization (college, financial institution, accounting firm, etc.) authorized by IRS to assist alien individuals and other foreign persons in obtaining ITINs (Individual Tax Identifying Number) from the IRS.

CAAs review applicants documentation, complete a certificate of accuracy, and forward the certificate and application to the IRS for processing. An Acceptance Agent cannot complete the certificate of accuracy therefore the original identification documents must be mailed to IRS. CAAs do not act as agents of the IRS, nor are they authorized to hold themselves out to be agents of the IRS. We do charge a fee for this service.

What Is An ITIN?

According to the IRS, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (or ITIN for short) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a US taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).  It is important to note that ITINs do not serve any purpose other than federal tax reporting.

As such, an ITIN does not:

  • Authorize work in the US
  • Provide eligibility for Social Security benefits
  • Qualify a dependent for Earned Income Tax Credit purposes

When Would I Need An ITIN?

You may need an ITIN when you do not have a Social Security Number, are not eligible to obtain one, and you have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal tax return.  Most commonly, this would be in situations if you are a:

  • Nonresident alien who is required to file a US tax return
  • US resident alien who is (based on days present in the United States) filing a US tax return
  • Dependent or spouse of a US citizen/resident alien (one note: non-resident alien spouses who make this election are not required to report his or her individual non-US financial accounts on an FBAR, but if the US spouse meets the filing threshold, then foreign assets of the non-resident spouse must be included to joint form 8938)
  • Dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder
  • Nonresident alien claiming a tax treaty benefit; and/or
  • Nonresident alien student, professor or researcher filing a US tax return or claiming an exception

If I Need An ITIN, How Do I Obtain One?

In order to obtain an ITIN while overseas, you can complete a Form W-7 (along with required supporting documentation that proves identity), attach it to your US tax return, and send the return and Form W-7 to the IRS ITIN Operations Center. It’s important to note that the documentation filed with the Form W-7 must be original or certified. The address is:

Internal Revenue Service
Austin Service Center
ITIN Operation
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342

An alternative is for you to work with an IRS-authorized Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA) who will review your documentation and return it to you before submitting your completed Form W-7 to the ITIN Operations Center. This can be helpful in saving time and headaches, as by utilizing the services of a Certifying Acceptance Agent no original passport or certified copy of passports are required to be submitted to the IRS. Instead, the CAA issues a “Certificate of Accuracy” (COA) certificate to be submitted to the IRS in lieu of the original documents.

What Are The Exceptions To The Original Documents’ Submission Requirements?

There are four exceptions to this new documentation requirement described above. Applicants who are not impacted by these changes include:

  • U.S. military spouses and U.S. military dependents
  • Non-resident aliens applying for ITINs for the purpose of claiming tax treaty benefits
  • Noncitizens that have approved TY 2011 extensions to file their tax returns. These are temporary ITINs.
  • Student Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP) participants

Do I need To Be Personally Present To Get ITIN Application Processed?

Yes and No. Starting from January 1st, 2013, IRS requires face to face interview with the ITIN applicant. In cases when ITIN applicant can’t visit our office, we can fulfill this requirement by a video conferencing interview with the ITIN applicant.

Will The IRS Return My Original Documents To Me? How Long Will It Take To Get Them Back?

The IRS currently receives original documents with some applications and they have a process in place to ensure that documents are returned to applicants. The original and certified documents will be returned to applicants using the mailing address on the application via postage paid standard U.S. mail within 60 days of receipt and processing of the Form W-7.

Does An ITIN Ever Expire?

In general, ITINs expire if the ITIN holder does not file a tax return or wasn’t included as a dependent on the tax return of another taxpayer for three consecutive years. In this case, the ITIN will expire on the last day of the third consecutive year.

In the event that you receive a notice that you, your spouse, or your dependent’s ITIN is scheduled to expire, and you will be filing a tax return or claim for refund in a subsequent year, you should begin the renewal process as quickly as you can in order to avoid delays.  Once your renewal application is accepted, the IRS issues notice CP565 to the applicant, which serves as confirmation of your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number when an ITIN is renewed.

Luckily, IZELLA TAX RELIEF can act as a Certified Acceptance Agent and walk you through this process with ease and confidence. Contact Us Today and we are happy to help!