WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers with expiring Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to submit their renewal applications as soon as possible. Failing to renew them by the end of this year will cause refund and processing delays in 2019.
This is the second in a series of reminders to help taxpayers get ready for the upcoming tax filing season. Additionally, the IRS has recently updated a special page on its website with steps to take now for the 2019 tax filing season.
The IRS mailed more than 1.3 million letters to taxpayer households that include an ITIN holder with middle digits 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81 or 82. Affected taxpayers who expect to file a tax return in 2019 should submit a renewal application now.
To help taxpayers, the IRS has prepared a variety of informational materials, including flyers and fact sheets, available in several languages on IRS.gov. In addition to English and Spanish, ITIN materials are available in Chinese, Korean, Haitian Creole, Russian and Vietnamese.
Those who must renew their ITIN can choose to renew their family’s ITINs together, even if family members have an ITIN with middle digits other than 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81 or 82. Family members include the tax filer, spouse and any dependents claimed on the tax return.
Who needs an ITIN?
ITINs are used by people who have tax filing requirements under U.S. law but are not eligible for a Social Security number. ITIN holders should visit the ITIN information page on IRS.gov and take a few minutes to read and understand the guidelines. Taxpayers who are eligible for a Social Security number (SSN) should not apply for or renew an ITIN. They should notify IRS of both their SSN and previous ITIN so their accounts can be merged.
Spouses or dependents residing in the United States should renew their ITINs. But those who live elsewhere need not renew them unless they anticipate being claimed for a tax benefit or if they file their own tax return. That’s because the tax reform law suspended the deduction for personal exemptions for tax years 2018 through 2025. Consequently, spouses or dependents outside the United States who would have been claimed for this personal exemption benefit and no other benefit do not need to renew their ITINs this year.
Who should renew an ITIN?
Taxpayers with ITINs set to expire at the end of the year and who need to file a tax return in 2019 must submit a renewal application. Others do not need to take any action.
How to renew an ITIN
To renew an ITIN, taxpayers must complete a Form W-7 and submit all required documentation. Although a tax return is normally attached to the Form W-7, a taxpayer is not required to attach a return to ITIN renewal applications. There are three ways to submit the W-7 application package:
Avoid common errors now; prevent delays next year
Several common errors can delay an ITIN renewal application or associated refund. The mistakes generally center on missing information and/or insufficient supporting documentation. Here are a few examples of mistakes taxpayers should avoid:
As a reminder, the IRS no longer accepts passports that do not have a date of entry into the U.S. as a stand-alone identification document for dependents from a country other than Canada or Mexico, or dependents of U.S. military personnel overseas. The dependent’s passport must have a date of entry stamp, otherwise the following additional documents to prove U.S. residency are required:
The ITIN renewal requirement is part of a series of provisions established by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act enacted by Congress in December 2015. These provisions are outlined in IRS Notice 2016-48.
IRS encourages more applicants for Acceptance Agent Program to expand ITIN services
IRS continues to recruit Certifying Acceptance Agents (CAA) and accepts applications year-round. With a fast approaching filing season, becoming a CAA will allow eligible practitioners to expand service to their existing clients and attract new ones. Interested individuals, community outreach partners and volunteers at tax preparation sites are encouraged to review all program changes and requirements.