Tax Tips Logo ImageISSUE:

On September 10, 2021, the IRS updated its frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the procedure for obtaining an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).

 

SITUATION:

Troas Bible College (TBC) is a private college exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and 170(b)(1)(A)(ii).  They are required to file Form 990 annually.

The Accountant at TBC called us to ask about ITIN’s:

“We have several students – such as international students – who are not eligible to obtain a U.S. Social Security Number.  What can you tell us about ITIN’s?”

“Well, the short answer is that an ITIN is a nine-digit number the IRS issues to individuals who have a U.S. tax filing or reporting obligation but are not eligible for a Social Security Number.  Having said that, the application process can be bureaucratic and confusing.  Note that applicants can use the U.S. Mail or through an ‘Acceptance Agent’ (AA), a ‘Certifying Acceptance Agent’ (CAA), or in-person at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.  Further, in the recent announcement of the updated FAQs, the IRS noted that, ‘The IRS is currently processing Form W-7s within 14 weeks after receipt. We are taking every action to minimize delays, and we are processing requests in the order they were received.’”

You can find out more about ITIN’s at:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/individual-taxpayer-identification-number

 

RULES:                                                                        .

From IRS webpage “ITIN Updated Procedures Frequently Asked Questions”:

What is an ITIN? An Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is a nine-digit number the IRS issues to individuals who have a U.S. tax filing or reporting obligation but are not eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN).

Individuals apply for an ITIN by filing Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, with the IRS. (Instructions for Form W-7)

What is the difference between a “certified” and a “notarized” document?

A certified document is one that the original issuing agency provides and certifies as an exact copy of the original document and contains an official stamped seal from the Agency. These documents will be accepted. A notarized document is one that the taxpayer provides to a public notary who bears witness to the signing of the official document and affixes a seal assuring that the document is legitimate. These documents will not be accepted for ITIN applications. Note there are some applicants who are exempt from this change.

If I cannot get the documents I need to apply for an ITIN, can I apply for

a Social Security number instead?

If you qualify for a social security number, you should not be applying for an ITIN.

 

BOTTOM LINE:

  • The 2015 PATH Act (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes) made significant changes to the ITIN program.
  • The IRS has detailed guidelines for applying for an ITIN.
  • Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instructions include the requirements to produce original or certified copies of documents such as Passport, Visa issued by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. driver’s license, Foreign voter’s registration card, etc.  At least one document must include a photo ID.
  • ITIN “holders” should be aware that their ITIN may expire under certain circumstances.

 

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The information provided herein presents general information and should not be relied on as accounting, tax, or legal advice when analyzing and resolving a specific tax issue. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, please consult with competent accounting, tax, and/or legal counsel about the facts and laws that apply.

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