Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
A person who does not qualify for a Social Security Number (SSN) who nevertheless needs to file an income tax return must obtain an ITIN in order to file the tax return. This is done with Form W-7, Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is available at: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-w-7. The instructions are available at: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw7.pdf.
Most applicants need to attach an income tax return to their applications, in order to show why they need to file them. This can lead to an interesting “chicken and egg” situation, since you cannot obtain an ITIN unless you have an income tax return, and you cannot file the income tax return without an ITIN.
In many cases, the solution is for you to prepare the income tax return, which is the Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, leaving the space for the SSN or ITIN blank. After the ITIN is issued, you can enter it into your tax return and electronically file it at that time.
Tarlson & Associates is a Certifying Acceptance Agent, which means that we can verify your identity and citizenship documentation and prepare and sign Form W-7(COA), Certificate of Accuracy attesting to the same. This avoids your having to send these sensitive documents to the IRS and wait for 7 weeks or more for them to return them.
Most of the time, your passport and visa are sufficient for the verification of your identity, citizenship, and immigration status. You might need some other documents if you haven’t yet filed an income tax return:
- Partnership or limited liability company (LLC) Operating Agreement displaying the entity’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) and showing that the applicant is a partner in a partnership conducting business in the U.S.
- Signed and dated letter from a bank or withholding agent on its official letterhead, displaying the applicant’s name and stating that they have opened a business account subject to IRS information reporting and/or federal tax withholding.
- Letter of employment, employment contract, or letter requesting the applicant’s presence for a speaking engagement.
- Notification from an educational institution awarding a scholarship, fellowship, grant, or contract for academic services.
- Form 1042-S from a gaming official indicating tax withheld.
- Evidence of a home mortgage loan.
- Form 8288, 8288-A or 8288-B, sales contract or settlement statement for sale of real property in the U.S.
The Form W-7 is filed with a specialized processing center in Austin Texas:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
As part of our service, we send your package to the ITIN center via certified mail, return receipt requested. You can contact us in a week or so to confirm receipt of your application and a copy of the confirmation paperwork from the Postal Service.
According to the Instructions for Form W-7, you should allow 7 weeks for the IRS to notify you of your ITIN application status (9 to 11 weeks if you submit the application during peak processing periods (January 15 through April 30) or if you’re filing from overseas).
If you haven’t received your ITIN or correspondence at the end of that time, you can call the IRS to find out the status of your application. You can call 800-829-1040 if you’re in the United States. If you’re outside of the United States, call 267-941-1000 (not a toll-free number) for assistance. You have trouble getting through, let us know and we will call or email the ITIN center on your behalf for an update.
COVID-19 Delays in Processing
IRS Personnel were furloughed for 55 days immediately following the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020. As of June 2020, they are still significantly behind in the processing of applications.
Update: on August 13, we received an ITIN for a Form W-7 we submitted on March 22, 2020.