The Internal Revenue Service is reminding 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 the year will cause refund and processing delays in 2018.
The IRS mailed more than 1 million letters to taxpayer households that include an ITIN holder with middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80. Affected taxpayers who expect to file a tax return in 2018 should submit a renewal application now.
“As we approach the end of the year, we urge people to renew their ITINs as quickly as possible,” said John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner. “Renewing early will make things easier for ITIN holders during the tax-filing season and avoid tax refund and processing delays.”
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 the family’s ITINs together even if family members have an ITIN with middle digits other than 70, 71, 72, 78, 79 or 80. 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 ITINinformation page on IRS.gov and take a few minutes to understand the guidelines.
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 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, a Social Security number (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 expired should renew their ITIN if they will have a filing requirement in 2018.
Avoid Common Errors Now; Prevent Delays Next Year
Several common errors can delay an ITIN renewal application. The mistakes generally center on missing information and/or insufficient supporting documentation. Here are a few examples of mistakes taxpayers should avoid:
- Filing with an expired ITIN. Federal returns that are submitted in 2018 with an expired ITIN will be processed. However, exemptions and/or certain tax credits will be disallowed. Taxpayers will receive a notice in the mail advising them of the change to their tax return and their need to renew their ITIN. Once the ITIN is renewed, any applicable exemptions and credits will be restored and any refunds will be issued.
- Failure to indicate reason for applying. A reason for needing the ITIN must be selected on the Form W-7.
- Missing a complete foreign address. When renewing an ITIN, if Reason B (non-resident alien) is marked, the taxpayer must include a complete foreign address on their Form W-7.
- Mailing incorrect identification documents. Taxpayers mailing their ITIN renewal applications must include original identification documents or certified copies by the issuing agency and any other required attachments. They must also include the ITIN assigned to them and the name under which it was issued in line 6e-f.
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:
- U.S. medical records for dependents under age 6,
- U.S. school records for dependents under age 18, and
- U.S. school records (if a student), rental statements, bank statements or utility bills listing the applicant’s name and U.S. address, if over age 18
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.