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Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)


Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) will expire if not used on a federal income tax return for any year during a period of five consecutive years, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. That is, the IRS will not deactivate an ITIN that has been used on at least one tax return in the past five years. To give all interested parties time to adjust and allow the IRS to reprogram its systems, the IRS will not begin deactivating ITINs until 2016.

The new, more uniform policy applies to any ITIN, regardless of when it was issued. Only about a quarter of the ITINs issued since the program began in 1996 are being used on tax returns. The new policy will ensure that anyone who legitimately uses an ITIN for tax purposes can continue to do so, while at the same time resulting in the likely eventual expiration of millions of unused ITINs. See the IRS news release for more details.

Effective January 1, 2013, the IRS implemented new procedures that affect the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) application process. Some of the information below, including the documentation requirements for individuals seeking an ITIN, has been superseded by these changes. Taxpayers and their representatives should review these program changes, which are further explained in these Frequently Asked Questions, before requesting an ITIN.  

Effective January 1, 2013, authorized representatives for Certifying Acceptance Agents are required to complete forensic training and submit the original certificate of completion with their Form 13551 Application to Participate in the IRS Acceptance Agent Program.

Acceptance Agents' Alert (Posted July 1, 2010)

Effective July 1, 2010, all applicants applying to become an authorized representative of an acceptance agent or certifying acceptance agent are required to take the mandatory Acceptance Agent training and submit the certification form along with the new, renewing or amended Form 13551.

New ITIN Acceptance Agent Program Changes
(Posted January 7, 2013)

Acceptance Agents Applications - Open Season

The IRS will be accepting and processing Forms 13551, Application to Participate in the IRS Acceptance Agent Program, during open season May 1-August 31 of each year for new and renewing applicants. We will continue to accept amended applications throughout the year.

The Acceptance Agent Program processes applications on a first-in, first-out basis. Existing approved acceptance agents who submitted a renewing application that was not rejected can continue to operate under the old agreement until the new agreement is finalized.

General ITIN Information

  • What is an ITIN?
  • What is an ITIN used for?
  • Who needs an ITIN?
  • How do I know if I need an ITIN?
  • How do I apply for an ITIN?
  • When should I apply for an ITIN?
  • Where can I get help with my ITIN application?
  • How and when can I expect to receive my ITIN?

Revised Application Standards for ITINs

  • What are the revised application standards for ITINs?
  • Why did IRS change from an ITIN card to an authorization letter?
  • Why did IRS revise the ITIN application process?
  • What documents are acceptable as proof of identity and foreign status?

Forms and Publications

Before submitting Form 13551 to apply to participate in the Acceptance Agent Program, access and complete the mandatory
Acceptance Agent training.

 Additional ITIN Information

  • How can I obtain an ITIN from abroad?
  • Are ITINs valid for identification?
  • Are ITINs valid for work purposes?
  • Can ITINs be used as proof of identification to obtain a state driver's license?
  • What do I do when I am assigned a social security number (SSN)? 
  • What ITIN information is available in Spanish? 
  • What ITIN information is available for tax professionals?
  • What is an ITIN Acceptance Agent?
  • How can I become an acceptance Agent?
  • What information is available for Foreign Property Buyers/Sellers?
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 28-Apr-2015