Do You Need ITIN to File Your Taxes?

Do you need ITIN to file your taxes? ITIN Application Services | Form W-7

Do you need ITIN to file your taxes?

Or maybe you need to renew the existing ITIN? Here’s how you can go about it.

As we approach the end of the year, we review our tax situations to decide on the best strategy to address upcoming 2016 tax filing season. Seemingly simple tasks, like sending in the appropriate tax information or updating your address with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), can become a week-long process, delaying your ability to meet certain important tax filing deadlines. To keep up with recent tax developments, we thought we would share with you our thoughts on some of the last minute year-end preparation moves. Today, we’re taking a look at the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (“ITIN”) trying to help you answer the question “Do you need ITIN to file your taxes?”. The IRS recently started requiring certain taxpayers to renew their ITINs. This requirement was introduced under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015. You need to renew your ITIN, if yours is set to expire, to be able to file your 2016 tax return. Don’t wait to get this process going. You can renew your expiring ITIN or apply for a new ITIN in more than just one place.

Who should renew their ITIN?

First, any ITIN not used on a tax return at least once in the last three (3) years will be invalid for use on a tax return as of January 1, 2017. Accordingly, taxpayers with such ITINs need to renew their ITIN.

In addition, taxpayers with ITIN middle digits “78” or “79” need to renew their ITINs, even if they used it in the last three years (for example, XXX-78-XXXX or XXX-79-XXXX). Note that for renewing your ITIN, you do not need to attach a tax return to Form W-7. The IRS allows all family members to renew their ITINs at once. The affected taxpayers should have received a letter from the IRS inviting them to renew their expiring ITIN.

IRS website (irs.gov)

The first place where you can get started and review applicable ITIN process and application requirements is the IRS website. The IRS website generally contains up-to-date information available in several languages. You can download Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and the instructions to the form right there. The instructions provide a line-by-line guidance on how to fill out the form and address other important questions, such as where and when to file. Once you have completed your application, you need to enclose certain documents in support of the application. Remember: the IRS accepts only original documents and certified copies of original documents. The IRS does not keep your original documents and will return them to you via standard US mail within 60 days of receipt and processing of ITIN application on Form W-7.

IRS Certified Acceptance Agents

If you’re pressed for time, are confused by the process, or cannot operate without your original documents (such as passport), consider working with an IRS Certified Acceptance Agent (“CAA”) who can submit Forms W-7 on your behalf. A CAA, for a fee, will review your situation and documents to make sure that you meet the ITIN requirements and have all supporting documentation before submitting the documents to the IRS on your behalf.  One of the benefits of working with a CAA is in the ability of a CAA to certify passports and birth certificates of the applicant, their spouse and dependents, as applicable, without a need to send in original documents to the IRS. There may be some exceptions, but a CAA would be able to explain to you the whole process in more detail. A face-to-face meeting with a CAA is typically required, but a video conference may be pre-arranged, if the CAA has original documents in their possession at the time of the video conference.

IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers

You can also submit your applications for your ITIN in person with your original documents at designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (“TACs”). TACs employees certify original and certified copies of passports, National ID cards and birth certificates. You can schedule an appointment ahead of time by calling 844-545-5640. You can also visit the IRS website (irs.gov) to find TAC nearest to your location.


U.S. Tax IQ with offices in Oakville and Toronto serving clients in GTA, Hamilton, Burlington, Mississauga, and Vaughan. Our dedicated team of experienced US Tax Advisors and US Tax Attorney are ready to assist you with ITIN application on Form W-7 and other US tax and international tax related services.