Article:

Is your US tax number still valid?

28 September 2017

The Internal Revenue Service has announced important changes to help taxpayers comply with the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program. The changes will require some taxpayers to renew their ITINs periodically, beginning October 1 2017. For those outside the US where the process is less straightforward, BDO can help you with this process from London.

If your ITIN has not been used on a federal tax return recently or your ITIN was issue before 2014, then it is likely you will need to take action to renew it. If you file a tax return showing an expired ITIN, you could face a delay in obtaining any refund and may be ineligible for certain tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, until the ITIN is renewed.

 

Who has to renew an ITIN?

There are two key groups of ITIN holders who may need to renew an ITIN so it will be in effect for returns filed in 2017 although the IRS emphasises that no action is needed if you don’t need to file a tax return next year.

ITINs not used on a federal income tax return in the last three years (2014, 2015, or 2016) will no longer be valid to use on a tax return from 1 January 2018 (ie the 2017 and later tax returns). So, if you have to file for 2017, you will need to renew your ITIN: the renewal period begins October 1, 2017.

ITINs that were issued before 2013 and with the middle digits of 78 and 79 (Example: 9XX-78-XXXX) would have expired last year and ITINs with middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80 will expire at the end of 2017 (whether used in the last 3 years or not). Again, the renewal period these expiring ITINs begins on October 1, 2017 and affected taxpayers should have already received a reminder from the IRS about renewing.  

 

How to renew an ITIN

Starting October 1, 2017, ITIN holders can begin the renewal process. A Form W-7 (Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) must be completed and relevant information and documentation included. However, the IRS will not require individuals renewing an ITIN to attach a tax return when submitting their Form W-7

There are three methods you can use to submit their W-7 application package:

  • Mail Form W-7, along with the original identification documents  (typically your original passport), to the IRS address listed on the form (identification documents should be returned within 60 days)
  • Use an IRS authorized Certified Acceptance Agent (a CAA) to certify the individual’s original documents so that they do not need to send key documentation to the IRS - BDO has a CAA solution here in London
  • In advance, call and make an appointment at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center - this facility is only available in the US and not at Embassies and Consuls overseas.

BDO’s team is able to certify an individual’s passport and can arrange for the submission of the required documents for an ITIN application. Where a number of ITIN applications are required (either for the first time or for renewal) we can arrange a meeting at your offices to undertake this process. For help and advice on US tax filing issues please contact, Scott.wickham@bdo.co.uk.