IRS urges taxpayers with expiring ITINs to submit renewal applications as year-end deadline approaches
WASHINGTON— The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers with expiring Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to submit their renewal applications as soon as possible. Failing to renew them by the end of the year will cause refund and processing delays in 2018.
The IRS mailed more than 1 million letters to taxpayer households that include an ITIN holder with middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80. Affected taxpayers who expect to file a tax return in 2018 should submit a renewal application now.
“As we approach the end of the year, we urge people to renew their ITINs as quickly as possible,” said John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner. “Renewing early will make things easier for ITIN holders during the tax-filing season and avoid tax refund and processing delays.”
To help taxpayers, the IRS has prepared a variety of informational materials, including flyers and fact sheets, available in several languages on IRS.gov. In addition to English and Spanish, ITIN materials are available in Chinese, Korean, Haitian Creole, Russian and Vietnamese.
Those who must renew their ITIN can choose to renew the family’s ITINs together even if family members have an ITIN with middle digits other than 70, 71, 72, 78, 79 or 80. Family members include the tax filer, spouse and any dependents claimed on the tax return.
Who Needs an ITIN?
ITINs are used by people who have tax filing requirements under U.S. law but are not eligible for a Social Security number. ITIN holders should visit the ITIN information page on IRS.gov and take a few minutes to understand the guidelines.
Who Should Renew an ITIN?
Taxpayers with ITINs set to expire at the end of the year and who need to file a tax return in 2018 must submit a renewal application. Others do not need to take any action.
ITINs with middle digits 70, 71, 72, or 80 (For example: 9NN-70-NNNN) need to be renewed if the taxpayer will have a filing requirement in 2018.
Taxpayers whose ITINs expired due to lack of use should only renew their ITIN if they will have a filing requirement in 2018.
Taxpayers who are eligible for, or who have, a Social Security number (SSN) should not renew their ITIN, but should notify IRS both of their SSN and previous ITIN, so that their accounts can be merged.
Taxpayers whose ITINs have middle digits 78 or 79 that have expired should renew their ITIN if they will have a filing requirement in 2018.
How to Renew an ITIN
To renew an ITIN, taxpayers must complete a Form W-7 and submit all required documentation. Although a Form W-7 is normally attached to the tax return, a taxpayer is not required to attach a return to one of these ITIN renewal applications.
There are three ways to submit the W-7 application package:
Mail the Form W-7, along with original identification documents or copies certified by the issuing agency, to the IRS address listed on the Form W-7 instructions. The IRS will review the identification documents and return them within 60 days.
Taxpayers have the option to work with Certified Acceptance Agents (CAAs) authorized by the IRS to help them apply for an ITIN. CAAs can certify all identification documents for primary and secondary taxpayers and certify that an ITIN application is correct before submitting it to the IRS for processing. A CAA can also certify passports and birth certificates for dependents. This saves taxpayers from mailing original documents to the IRS.
In advance, taxpayers can call and make an appointment at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center instead of mailing original identification documents to the IRS. When making an appointment, make sure to let telephone assistors know the visit involves an ITIN renewal application.
Avoid Common Errors Now; Prevent Delays Next Year
Several common errors can delay an ITIN renewal application. The mistakes generally center on missing information and/or insufficient supporting documentation. Here are a few examples of mistakes taxpayers should avoid:
Filing with an expired ITIN. Federal returns that are submitted in 2018 with an expired ITIN will be processed. However, exemptions and/or certain tax credits will be disallowed. Taxpayers will receive a notice in the mail advising them of the change to their tax return and their need to renew their ITIN. Once the ITIN is renewed, any applicable exemptions and credits will be restored and any refunds will be issued.
Failure to indicate reason for applying. A reason for needing the ITIN must be selected on the Form W-7.
Missing a complete foreign address. When renewing an ITIN, if Reason B (non-resident alien) is marked, the taxpayer must include a complete foreign address on their Form W-7.
Mailing incorrect identification documents. Taxpayers mailing their ITIN renewal applications must include original identification documents or certified copies by the issuing agency and any other required attachments. They must also include the ITIN assigned to them and the name under which it was issued in line 6e-f.
As a reminder, the IRS no longer accepts passports that do not have a date of entry into the U.S. as a stand-alone identification document for dependents from a country other than Canada or Mexico, or dependents of U.S. military personnel overseas. The dependent’s passport must have a date of entry stamp, otherwise the following additional documents to prove U.S. residency are required:
U.S. medical records for dependents under age 6,
U.S. school records for dependents under age 18, and
U.S. school records (if a student), rental statements, bank statements or utility bills listing the applicant’s name and U.S. address, if over age 18
The ITIN renewal requirement is part of a series of provisions established by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act enacted by Congress in December 2015. These provisions are outlined in IRS Notice 2016-48.
Remember that all of the web page addresses for the official IRS website, IRS.gov, begin with http://www.irs.gov. Don' t be confused or misled by Internet sites that end in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. The address of the official IRS governmental Web site is http://www.irs.gov/.