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Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Reminders for Tax Professionals

Effective January 1, 2013, the IRS has updated 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 Some of the information below, including the documentation requirements for individuals seeking an ITIN, has been superseded by these changes.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 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 --
• IRS streamlined the number of documents the agency accepts as proof of identity and foreign status to obtain an ITIN. There are 13 acceptable documents. Each document must be current and contain an expiration date. IRS will accept documents issued within 12 months of the application if no expiration date is normally available.  Documents must also show your name and photograph, and support your claim of foreign status. Below is the list of the only acceptable documents:

  1. Passport (stand alone document)
  2. National identification card (must show photo, name, current address, date of birth, and expiration date)
  3. U.S. driver's license
  4. Civil birth certificate (required for dependents under 18 years of age)
  5. Foreign driver's license
  6. U.S. state identification card
  7. Foreign voter's registration card
  8. U.S. military identification card
  9. Foreign military identification card
  10. Visa
  11. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification
  12. Medical records (dependents only - under 6)
  13. School records (dependents only - under 14, under 18 if a student)


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: 27-May-2015