ITIN Number – Tax ID Number Documentation Requirements

By Alex Oware on 06/24/2015 10:00 PM

Question: IRS requires certain identification documents (like passport or an ID issued by the foreign national's home country) to go along with the W-7 in order to apply for an ITIN. Are we supposed to send the identification documents together with the W-7 and the 1040NR?

Answer: Yes, you have to include identification with the Form W-7. A passport is the best identification available, because it proves both identity and foreign status in one single document. Other types of ID are accepted. But only a passport satisfies both requirements.

If you use other types of ID, then you  have to submit two pieces of ID. The requirements are very specific. They're in the instructions for Form W-7. Photocopies generally will not be accepted. They either have to be certified copies or original documents.  You  can send the original documents, and the IRS will send them back after processing the W-7. That takes about six weeks.

If you  send certified copies, the IRS will not send them back. Most people don't want to send the original documents. And they may not be able to get certified copies. Or if they have certified copies of something like a birth certificate, they may not want to give it up. There are two ways to file a W-7 without having to send in originals or certified copies:

(1)   Present the Form W-7, with the tax return, in person at an IRS office. The IRS rep will inspect and copy the original documents or the certified copies. The taxpayer will not have to give up the documents.

NOTE: Not all IRS offices support this function. (2) Present the Form W-7, with the tax return, to an IRS Certified Acceptance Agent. The agent is authorized by the IRS to inspect and copy the ID documents. The Acceptance Agent signs the W-7.

NOTE: Certified Acceptance agent will not sign a tax return prepared by you or any other person. Acceptance Agents will only sign tax returns prepared by them

 

The Acceptance Agent then submits the W-7 and the tax return to the IRS, with a document certifying the authenticity of the ID documents that were presented.You do not have to give up your original documents when you use the services of a CAA.

***Disclaimer: I am a tax accountant and a CPA , but I am not your accountant or advocate (Unless you have signed up to my services). This communication is not intended as tax advice, and no tax accountant -client relationship results**