If you have clients who do not have a Social Security Number, they can request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). This nine-digit number is used for tax processing only. Your client must have a federal filing requirement and must not be eligible for a Social Security Number to receive a temporary ITIN.
Which clients are eligible for an ITIN?
Residents and nonresidents of the United States can obtain an ITIN regardless of their immigration status. A few examples of taxpayers who might need an ITIN include:
- Dependents/Spouse of a Nonresident with a Visa
- Resident aliens who have a filing requirement because of the number of days they were residents in the U.S.
- Nonresidents who have a filing requirement
- Dependents/Spouse of a U.S. citizen or resident alien
- Taxpayers who live abroad
How does a taxpayer request an ITIN?
To request this identification number, the taxpayer must fill out an submit Form W-7 Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Then they must attach it to their Form 1040 and mail it to the IRS. Form W-7 can’t be e-filed.
Note: Each taxpayer included on a returning that requires an ITIN must complete a separate W-7.
Taxpayers will need the following information to fill out Form W-7:
- Birth name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Passport, driver’s license, or other identification documents
- Original or certified copies of foreign status or immigration documents
This application must be mailed in or must be filed at an IRS tax assistance center or an authorized acceptance agent.
When is the application due?
Like a normal tax return, an ITIN application is due on April 15th on the normal filing day. If your client waits and submits their application late, they may incur interest or penalties.
How long will it take to process a tax return filing with Form W-7?
Once the taxpayer’s application has been received by the IRS, it usually takes about 7 weeks to process. Usually, taxpayers will be notified of their status within 10 weeks at most. Taxpayers can check their status by calling the IRS at 800-829-1040.
Does an ITIN expire?
ITIN numbers do expire. If you plan on filing taxes for multiple years, you will probably have to renew your number each year. For more information on when do ITINs expire, read more here.
The information in this article is up to date for tax year 2019 (taxes filed in 2020).