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Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Reminders for Tax Professionals

Effective June 22, 2012, the IRS has made interim changes 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 Some of the information below, including the documentation requirements for individuals seeking an ITIN, has been superseded by these changes.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 changes, which are further explained in these Frequently Asked Questions, before requesting an ITIN.

Filing with an ITIN --
• The IRS issues ITINs for federal tax purposes, and ITINs should be used for tax reporting only. 
• ITINs do not authorize a person to work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits.
• Tax returns filed with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number reporting wages paid are required to show the Social Security Number under which the wages were earned.  This creates an identification number (ITIN/SSN) mismatch.  In the past, returns with this mismatch could only be filed on paper.  Due to programming changes the IRS' e-file system can now accept these returns.  The taxpayer's correct ITIN should be used as the identifying number at the top of Form 1040.  When inputting W-2 information, the SSN should be entered exactly as shown on the Form W-2 issued by the employer.  It is now possible to e-file a return with an ITIN/SSN mismatch.  
• If a primary taxpayer, spouse, or both have ITINs, they are ineligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), even if their dependents have valid SSNs.  If the taxpayer and spouse (if filing jointly) have valid SSNs, only dependents with valid SSNs – not ITINs – qualify to receive EITC.

Seeking an ITIN --
• ITIN applicants must show a federal tax purpose for seeking ITINs.  Most will demonstrate a tax purpose by attaching an original federal tax return to Form W-7, Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, and mailing, with their proof of identity and foreign status documents, to the IRS address listed in the Form W-7 instructions.
• In cases where a current year tax return has already been filed that excluded a spouse or dependent who needs an ITIN, the taxpayer should complete Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, showing the ITIN applicant’s information, and attach it to Form W-7.

Documents with W-7 for ITIN --
• The IRS accepts, and encourages Acceptance Agents and Tax Professionals to use, certified or notarized copies of documents with the Form W-7. 
• Documents must be: certified copy by the issuing agency, or certified/notarized copy by: 
  o   1) a U.S. Military Judge Advocate General Officer,
  o   2) foreign notaries authorized under the Hague Convention, or
  o   3) a U.S. notary public.
  [For number 2, an Apostille must accompany the supporting documentation.  The
  U.S. Department of State web site has further information on the Hague Convention
  and participating countries.] 
• The supporting documentation must be consistent with the applicant's information provided on Form W-7.  For example, the name, date of birth, and country of citizenship must be the same as on lines 1a, 4, and 6a of the Form W-7. 

Reminder when submitting documentation for ITINs --
• If you are submitting any documentation to IRS which includes a "copy" of a prior submitted tax return, please make sure that "COPY" is written in large letters across the top of the tax return.  This will ensure the tax return is not processed again as an "original". 

Acceptance Agents sending applications for ITINs --
• Forms W-7 filed by IRS-authorized ITIN Acceptance Agents should be mailed to the address below:

             Internal Revenue Service
             ITIN Operation
             P.O. Box 149342
             Austin, TX 78714-9342

See Frequently Asked Questions  for more details on ITINs.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 19-Mar-2014