IRS ITIN Certifying Acceptance Agents Program outside of the US is Restored
The IRS has just restored the IRS ITIN Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA) Program outside the United States!
The IRS has just restored the IRS ITIN Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA) Program outside the United States! CAAs now can again certify certain identification documents, such as passport, and apply for ITIN for taxpayers who reside outside the United States. The CAA Program outside the United States was terminated as of December 31, 2016.
The IRS has expanded the options available to taxpayers residing abroad who need an ITIN to fulfill their U.S. filing requirement. They can now visit a US-based Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA) or a foreign CAA for ITIN assistance as well as visiting a Taxpayer Assistance Center or mailing their completed Form W7 application along with their required identification documents to the IRS …
ITIN Program Office
As a background, Section 203 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (“PATH” Act), Pub. L. 114-113, div. Q, enacted on December 18, 2015, modified Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) Section 6109, resulting in significant changes to the ITIN program. The changes affected the ITIN program in three major areas: (1) ITIN expiration and renewal process; (2) documentation requirements; and (3) Certifying Acceptance Agents (“CAAs”) program outside the United States.
As a result prior to January 1, 2017, the IRS ran Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA) program outside the United States. As a CAA, the tax services provider could verify certain identity documents (such as a passport) for Canadians and other US nonresidents and submit the ITIN application on behalf of the affected individual. This way, Canadians did not have to part with their passports.
As of January 1, 2017, the IRS terminated the CAA program outside the United States. More importantly, even CAAs in the United States are unable to verify the identify documents of US nonresidents. Instead, Canadians have three options to apply for ITIN: (1) file Form W-7 with the IRS and submit applicable original identity documents to the IRS; (2) file Form W-7 with the IRS and submit a passport copy certified by Canada Passport office; or (3) make an appointment with a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) in the United States and file Form W-7 there. Out of these three options, making an appointment with IRS TAC is probably the best option as it does not require the applicant to part with her/his passport. The second best option is to get a certified copy of passport at the Canada Passport office. However, that may take a few weeks (the original passport must be left at the Canada Passport office).
Finally, the option that is unlikely to be used by any Canadian is the submission of the original passport to the IRS directly. That may take 6-8 weeks or more and the IRS would not use a courier service to expedite the process. At U.S. Tax IQ, we can still assist you with either properly filling out Form W-7 or reviewing a completed application package to ensure that the ITIN submission is accepted by the IRS (given our experience as a CAA in the past, we can address a few practical issues that an ITIN applicant may face).