Taxpayers should renew expiring ITINs early to avoid a refund delay next year

IRS Tax Tip 2020-110, August 27, 2020

Individual taxpayer identification numbers are used by taxpayers who have tax filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but who are not eligible for a Social Security number. People with expiring individual taxpayer identification numbers should renew their number ASAP. This will help avoid unnecessary delays related to their tax refund next year.

Which ITINs will expire this year

  • These ITINs expire on December 31, 2020
    • Numbers with middle digits 88
    • Those with middle digits 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99, if assigned before 2013 and if not already renewed.

The IRS sent the CP48 Notice to affected taxpayers in late summer. This notice explains what actions a taxpayer will need to take to renew the ITIN if it will be used on a U.S. tax return filed in 2021. If a taxpayer has an ITIN number that has already expired and expects to have a filing requirement in 2021, they can renew any time.

Taxpayers with an expiring ITINs have the option to renew them for their entire family at the same time, if they have received a renewal letter from the IRS. Family members include the tax filer, spouse and any dependents claimed on the tax return.

How to renew a ITIN

To renew an ITIN, a taxpayer must complete a Form W-7 and submit all required documentation. Taxpayers submitting a Form W-7 are not required to attach a federal tax return. However, they must still note a reason for needing an ITIN on the W-7. Spouses and dependents can only renew their ITIN when they file an individual tax return, or when someone else files a tax return claiming them for an allowable tax benefit. For example, a dependent parent who qualifies the primary taxpayer to claim head of household filing status. Taxpayers should review the Form W-7 instructions PDF before completing the form.

There are three ways to submit the Form W-7 application package. Taxpayers can:

  • Mail the form, along with original identification documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them, to the IRS address listed on the address listed in the form instructions  PDF.
  • Work with Certified Acceptance Agents authorized by the IRS.
  • Call and make an appointment at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center to have each applicant's identity authenticated in person instead of mailing original identification documents to the IRS.

Common errors to avoid when renewing an ITIN

  • Mailing identification documentation without a Form W-7
  • Missing information on the Form W-7
  • Insufficient supporting documentation, such as proof of U.S. residency or documents that support name changes.

The IRS continues a nationwide education effort to share information with ITIN holders. To help, the IRS offers a variety of informational materials PDF, available in up to seven languages.

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