How to Apply or Renew Your ITIN | H&R Block
November 4, 2016 : Allie Freeland – Contributing Editor
Editor’s Note: We recently published a post on ITINs, and the topic is back by popular demand. This post reveals how you can apply for or renew your ITIN through a Certified Acceptance Agent.
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS issues an ITIN to people who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but don’t have (or are not eligible for) a Social Security Number (SSN).
The process for obtaining an ITIN isn’t always easy – and in early 2016 a new law passed affecting ITIN renewals. With the new law, every ITIN will now have an expiration date. So if ITIN holders don’t renew on time, your refund could be further delayed, preventing you from claiming certain tax credits.
Where Can You Go for Help?
If you need to apply for or renew your ITIN, you can get help from a few highly credible sources, including:
- Tax preparers
- Acceptance Agents (AAs)
- Certified Acceptance Agents | Certifying Acceptance Agents (CAAs)
CAAs assume a greater responsibility in helping taxpayers like you apply for ITINs. See how AAs, CAAs, and tax preparers compare in this helpful chart.
How Certified Acceptance Agents Can Help With Your ITIN
There are several practical benefits to using a CAA to help navigate the ITIN application and renewal process.
1 – You don’t have to send the IRS your original documents.
An ITIN application requires specific documentation that proves your identity and foreign status. In light of recent security breaches, many people are fearful of offering personal data and documentation to someone they don’t know, especially through the mail.
CAAs can help take away some of that fear. Instead of sending in original documents with your ITIN application, CAAs can mail copies of documents to the IRS for taxpayers and dependents. They will complete the Form W-7 COA, Certificate of Accuracy for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, attesting that they:
- Reviewed all of the required documentation for the ITIN applicants
- Ensured the completeness, authenticity and accuracy of the documentation, and
- Verified the applicants’ identities, in person or by video conferencing
2 – CAAs can handle the ITIN application process.
CAAs know the ITIN-application process. They can answer your questions and help you complete your application. CAAs will compile and send the necessary forms listed in the application to the IRS for processing:
- Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
- Form W-7 COA, Certificate of Accuracy for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, along with required identity documentation
- The tax return
CAAs are required to keep copies of all documentation they send to the IRS. The IRS will send the ITIN to the CAA, who will pass it on to you.
3 – CAAs can help address IRS notices related to your application.
If you receive an IRS notice related to the ITIN application, CAAs can contact the IRS on your behalf.
For more information on ITINs and program changes, view the following resources:
- “Certifying Acceptance Agents Can Help Taxpayers Apply for ITINs and Keep Their Original Documents“
- “ITIN renewals: When ITINs will Expire and How Taxpayers and Their Advisors can Prepare“
- “Timing is Everything: The Date Taxpayers get an SSN or ITIN now Affects Whether They’re Eligible for Refundable Tax Credits“
- “How to Apply for an ITIN“