The IRS has updated procedures that affect the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) application process. Taxpayers and their representatives should review these changes identified below before requesting an ITIN:
2020 changes to the CAA Program
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has implemented a change to the list of document types that Certifying Acceptance Agents (CAAs) are authorized to authenticate and submit with Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) client’s applications. A recent audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found there was no forensic training on foreign military identification cards available to CAAs.
Based on these findings, IRS has eliminated the foreign military identification card from the list of 13 types of documents that a CAA may authenticate for an ITIN application. Foreign military identification cards represent a nominal percentage of submissions from all applicants. After the proposed change is implemented, applicants will continue to be able to use these documents to obtain ITINs if they present them directly to IRS either by mail or in person at a Taxpayer Assistance Center.
- Certification Process Changes (2016)
CAAs can now authenticate the passport and birth certificate for dependents. CAAs will continue to certify identification documents for the primary and secondary applicants. Form W-7 (COA), Certificate of Accuracy for IRS Individual Identification Taxpayer Number, must be attached to each Form W-7 application submitted as verification they have reviewed the original documentation or certified copies from the agency that issued them. CAAs will have to attach and send copies of all documentation reviewed with the Form W-7 COA to the IRS.
As a reminder, AAs and CAAs must conduct an in person interview with each applicant (primary, secondary and dependent) in order to complete the application. Video conferencing (i.e. SKYPE) can be used if the CAA has the original identification documents or certified copies from the agency that issued them in their possession during the interview.
- ITIN Acceptance Agent Applications Accepted Year Round
Form 13551, Application to Participate in the IRS Acceptance Agent Program, is now accepted year-round.
- Certifying Acceptance Agent Recruitment
The Service is actively recruiting Certifying Acceptance Agents. The goal is to increase the availability of individual ITIN services nationwide, particularly in communities with high ITIN usage. A Certifying Acceptance Agent is a person or an entity (business or organization) who, pursuant to a written agreement with the IRS, is authorized to assist individuals and other foreign persons who do not qualify for a Social Security Number but who still need a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to file a Form 1040 and other tax schedules. The Certifying Acceptance Agent facilitates the application process by reviewing the necessary documents, authenticating the identity when able and forwarding the completed forms to IRS.
There are four steps that need to be taken by all new and renewing applicants.
- Complete Form 13551 (PDF), Application to Participate in the IRS Acceptance Agent Program, and attach the fingerprint card (if applicable).
- Complete the Mandatory Acceptance Agent training, print, sign and submit the certification form.
- Attach the certification form for each authorized representative (person listed in block 5 of the application) to Form 13551.
- Complete forensic training and submit the certificate of completion to the IRS. (CAA applicants only)
- Applications received without the required certification form(s) will not be processed.
- All Acceptance Agents are required to submit at least five W-7 applications a year to remain in the program.
- Background checks and tax compliance checks will be conducted by the IRS after the application is received.
Send Form 13551, along with your completed fingerprint card or evidence of professional status if required, forensic documentation, and mandatory training certification to:
Internal Revenue Service
3651 S. IH 35
Stop 6380 AUSC
Austin, TX 78741
Additional Acceptance Agent Requirements
To ensure that Acceptance Agents have the tools they need to perform their jobs, all new and renewing applicants are required to complete mandatory training. The training session is available online at ITIN AA-CAA Online Pre-ApplicationTrainingPowerPoint. New and Renewing CAA applicants are also required to complete formal Forensic Document Training to obtain the necessary skills to determine the authenticity of identification documents. The original certificate of completion must be attached to the application Form 13551, Application to Participate in the IRS Acceptance Agent Program. For more information see: Forensic Training.
- Compliance Reviews
The IRS will conduct compliance reviews including both physical and correspondence reviews. Certifying Acceptance Agents are required to cooperate with IRS compliance checks as well as requests for information from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or the Government Accountability Office. Failure to do so can result in termination from the program.
- Quality Standards
All Acceptance Agents will be required to adhere to new quality standards established and monitored by the IRS. The focus of the new standards will be on the quality of each agent’s W-7 submissions as well as their adherence to the terms and conditions of their Acceptance Agent Agreement.
These changes and requirements are designed to strengthen the ITIN program and improve service to both Acceptance Agents and their clients. Questions about the IRS Acceptance Agent Program can be directed to the ITIN Policy Section by e-mail at ITINProgramOffice@irs.gov.