How to Become a Certified Acceptance Agent in 2024
The IRS has finally lifted the moratorium on the Acceptance Agent Program. This means that you can now apply or renew your status as an Acceptance Agent and help more people get their ITINs. But before you rush to submit your application, let me tell you about the new and improved process that the IRS has introduced. Trust me, it’s a lot better than the old one.
What is an Acceptance Agent and why should you become one?
If you are new to the world of ITINs, let me give you a quick introduction. An ITIN is a nine-digit number that the IRS issues to individuals who need a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who don’t have and can’t get a Social Security Number (SSN). These individuals are usually nonresident aliens, resident aliens, or dependents or spouses of U.S. citizens or resident aliens. They need an ITIN to file their taxes, claim tax credits, open bank accounts, apply for loans, and do other things that require a tax ID.
An Acceptance Agent is a person or a business entity that is authorized by the IRS to assist these individuals in applying for an ITIN. As an Acceptance Agent, you can:
- Review the identity and foreign status documents of the ITIN applicants and certify that they are authentic and current.
- Fill out and sign Form W-7 (COA), Certificate of Accuracy for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which confirms that you have verified the information of the applicants and their dependents, if any.
- Send Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, along with Form W-7 (COA) and the required supporting documents, to the IRS on behalf of the applicants.
- Keep copies of the forms and documents that you submitted for at least three years.
- Receive the ITIN from the IRS and deliver it to the applicants.
As you can see, being an Acceptance Agent is a very rewarding and important role. You can provide a valuable service to people who need an ITIN to comply with their tax obligations or to enjoy their tax benefits. You can also expand your client base and increase your revenue potential. You can enhance your professional reputation and credibility in the tax community. You can receive training and support from the IRS on ITIN-related issues and updates. And you can be listed on the IRS website as an authorized Acceptance Agent.
How to apply or renew as an Acceptance Agent?
If you are interested in becoming an Acceptance Agent or renewing your status as one, you will be happy to know that the IRS has made the process much easier and faster than before. The IRS had temporarily suspended the program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now it is back and better than ever.
The new Acceptance Agent application process is completely online. No more paper forms, no more snail mail, no more waiting for months. The new process reduces the processing time for properly submitted applications from 120 days to 60 days. You can find answers to commonly asked questions on the new application process on the Acceptance Agent FAQs page on the IRS website. You must follow the new process to apply or renew as an Acceptance Agent. The IRS will not accept any applications outside of this process. All applications must be submitted through the online Acceptance Agent Application process on e-Services.
To access the online application, you will need to go to e-Services and log in with your ID.me credentials. (If you don’t have an ID.me account, you can create one.) ID.me is a trusted third-party identity verification service that the IRS uses to protect your personal information and prevent identity theft. You can only access the new Acceptance Agent Application through e-Services. Once you log in, you will need to follow the steps in the tutorial to complete and submit your application.
The application process involves:
- Complete the mandatory ITIN Acceptance Agent Training before submitting your application. Everyone who is listed as a Responsible Party (RP) on your application must complete the training.
- Complete (Forensic Training)(CAAs only) before submitting your application. Everyone who is listed as a RP on your application must complete the training.
- Complete the electronic IRS Acceptance Agent Application. Identify individuals in the firm/organization as the Principal, Partner, or Owner of the Business (PPO); Principal Consent (PC); RPs; and Contacts, as needed. All parties identified on your application, excluding contacts, must register with IRS E-Services to access the application, complete required fields, acknowledge training completion, and sign respective jurats.
- Access the CAA Documentation Upload Tool to upload required documentation (i.e., Forensic Training Certificates, Professional Credentials, Citizenship documents, Non-Profit Exemption letter). We recommend uploading immediately after submitting the application.
If your application is approved, you will receive a welcome letter from the IRS, along with your Acceptance Agent number or office code and a copy of your signed Acceptance Agent Agreement.
If you are already an Acceptance Agent and your agreement expired on December 31, 2023, you must submit your renewal application for processing and approval to continue participation in the IRS Acceptance Agent Program.
How to contact the IRS for more information?
I hope that this article has given you a clear and comprehensive overview of the IRS Acceptance Agent Program and the new application process. I’m sure you are excited to join or renew your status as an Acceptance Agent and help more people get their ITINs. If you have any questions or concerns about the program, you can contact the ITIN Program Office by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the IRS website for more information and resources on the program.
***Disclaimer: This communication is not intended as tax advice, and no tax accountant -client relationship results**