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The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 includes important changes to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program. One provision will deactivate unused ITINs issued before January 1, 2013 over several years. Two categories of ITINs will expire at the end of 2017 and will have to be renewed to be used on a tax return. This renewal process is designed to verify all ITINs under the same procedures.

ITIN RENEWAL REQUIREMENT

Who Is Affected?

The following ITINs will expire on January 1, 2018:

  1. ITINs that have not been used on a federal income tax return at least once during tax years 2014, 2015, or 2016.
  2. ITINs with 70, 71, 72, or 80 as the middle digits (i.e. 9NN-70-NNNN).

The IRS has mailed notices to inform the second category of ITIN holders above that they must renew an ITIN (for the filer, a spouse, or a dependent) if they plan to file a tax return in 2018. ITIN holders who will not file a tax return in 2018 are not required to renew their ITINs at this time.

Taxpayers who file tax returns with an expired ITIN will be sent a notice advising them of the renewal requirement. They will experience processing delays until they renew their ITIN. Refunds for some tax credits like the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit will be held until the ITIN is renewed.

What is the Renewal Process?

One can renew an expiring ITIN by completing and submitting Form W-7, “Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number,” and all required identification documents to the IRS. The "Renew an Existing ITIN" box at the top of the application and a reason for submitting Form W-7  must be checked. The W-7 application can be submitted three ways:

  1. Mail the application to the IRS with original identification documents or copies that are certified by the agency that issued them. Documents will be returned within 60 days. A tax return is not required to be included with a W-7 application to renew an ITIN.
  2. Visit an IRS authorized Certified Acceptance Agent or authorized VITA site that can verify some identification documents so that the originals do not need to be mailed to the IRS.*
  3. Schedule an appointment at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center designated to verify passports and national ID cards used for ITIN renewal applications

*Recent IRS rule changes now permit Certified Acceptance Agents to verify passports and birth certificates for dependents.

To assist households with multiple ITIN holders, there is a family ITIN renewal option that allows other members of a household with ITINs to renew at the same time as the individual with an ITIN that will expire at the end of the year.

The IRS will process renewal applications in order of receipt. If the IRS requires additional information, a notice will be sent to the renewal applicant. Taxpayers should allow at least seven weeks for an ITIN application status update from the IRS. Applications sent from overseas or during January 15 through April 30, 2018, should allow nine to eleven weeks.

DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS FOR CHILDREN

Another major change to the ITIN program is that there are new requirements for dependents to use passports for identification. Beginning October 1, 2016, passports must have a date of entry into the U.S. for dependents from a country other than Canada or Mexico or dependents of military members overseas. Applicants that don’t will be required to submit additional documentation to prove U.S. residency based on the dependent’s age:

  • Under 6 – medical records
  • Under 18 – school records
  • Over 18 – rental statements, bank statements, or utility bills listing the applicant’s name and U.S. address

RESOURCES

The IRS has released several resources to assist ITIN holders and organizations working with this population.

 

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