IRS Encourages Taxpayers to Renew ITINs; Delays Expected for Those Who Missed Deadline

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According to the IRS, taxpayers with expired Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) should renew them as soon as possible. Tax returns with expired ITINs will face processing delays, and affected taxpayers may lose eligibility for key tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed.

An ITIN is used by anyone who has tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. tax law but is not eligible for a Social Security number. Under a series of provisions established by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act enacted by Congresss in December 2015, ITINs not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years are set to expire.

Also, ITINs with certain middle digits expired, requiring the taxpayer to renew, in order to continue using the ITIN to file a federal tax return. Those with middle digits of 70, 71, 72 or 80 (Example: 9NN-70-NNNN or 9NN-80-NNNN) expired on Dec. 31, 2017. ITINs that have middle digits 78 or 79 expired Dec. 31, 2016, but taxpayers can still renew them.

Who Should Renew an ITIN?

Tax professionals should advise clients accordingly; taxpayers with ITINs that expired at the end of 2017 and need to file a tax return in 2018 must submit a renewal application. Others do not need to take any action.

  • ITINs with middle digits 70, 71, 72, or 80 (For example: 9NN-70-NNNN) need to be renewed if the taxpayer will have a filing requirement in 2018.
  • Taxpayers whose ITINs expired due to lack of use should only renew their ITIN if they will have a filing requirement in 2018.
  • Taxpayers who are eligible for, or who have, an SSN should not renew their ITIN, but should notify IRS both of their SSN and previous ITIN so that their accounts can be merged.
  • Taxpayers whose ITINs have middle digits 78 or 79 that have already expired and were never renewed should renew their ITIN if they will have a filing requirement in 2018.

How to Renew an ITIN

To renew an ITIN, taxpayers must complete a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, and submit all required documentation. Although a Form W-7 is usually attached to the tax return, a taxpayer is not required to attach a federal tax return to their ITIN renewal application.

There are three ways to submit the W-7 application package:

  1. Mail the Form W-7, along with original identification documents or copies certified by the issuing agency, to the IRS address listed on the Form W-7 instructions. The IRS will review the identification documents and return them within 60 days.
  2. Taxpayers have the option to work with Certified Acceptance Agents (CAAs) authorized by the IRS to help them apply for an ITIN. CAAs can certify all identification documents for primary and secondary taxpayers and certify that an ITIN application is correct before submitting it to the IRS for processing. CAAs can also certify passports and birth certificates for dependents. This saves taxpayers from mailing original documents to the IRS.
  3. In advance, taxpayers can call 844-545-5640 and make an appointment at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center instead of mailing original identification documents to the IRS. When making an appointment, be sure to indicate that this involves an ITIN renewal application.

An ITIN Renewal application can take up to 11 weeks for the IRS to complete during the tax season.