Effective Oct. 2, 2012, the IRS implemented two separate clarifying changes to its temporary procedures for issuing Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs).
First, the IRS will allow individuals studying in the United States under the Student Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP) to get ITINs under a streamlined procedure. SEVP participants already provide documentation to the Department of Homeland Security under the requirements of that program, and will need a letter from their educational institution verifying their status.
Second, the IRS is creating special procedures for taxpayers who have an approved Tax Year 2011 extension to file their completed tax returns.
Under these temporary procedures, eligible taxpayers will be allowed to have their original documents certified by a Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA) or a SEVP approved institution as appropriate rather than mailing originals to the IRS. Extension filers that choose to not submit originals documents or copies certified by the issuing agency, must apply through a CAA and individuals studying under the SEVP will be required to apply through a university, college or other SEVP-approved institution. For both groups, these temporary procedures cover applications for the primary applicant, their spouse and dependents.
Designed specifically for tax-administration purposes, ITINs are only issued to people who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number. ITINs assist the IRS with the collection of taxes from foreign nationals, nonresident aliens and others who have filing or payment obligations under U.S. law. The tightened interim guidelines, announced in June, remain in effect for most other noncitizens. More information about ITINs and these interim guidelines can be found at 2012 ITIN Review Frequently Asked Questions.
The temporary procedures apply to these two groups of taxpayers:
- Noncitizens that have filed extensions: These are noncitizens who requested an extension of time to file a 2011 federal income tax return for resident and nonresident aliens and choose to not submit originals documents or copies certified by the issuing agency. The ITINs issued under this procedure are temporary, expiring one year from the extended return due date (e.g., Oct. 15, 2013). The noncitizens must submit their W-7 and related identification documents through a CAA, along with Form W-7 and related attachments. See below for special instructions for CAAs.
- SEVP Students: These are individuals admitted to the U.S. under an F, J or M visa who receive taxable scholarship, fellowship or other grants reportable by the school on Form W-2 or Form 1042-S. See below for special instructions for SEVP institutions, including a sample certification letter.
As previously announced, the IRS is in the process of conducting a review of its ITIN procedures. Final rules will be issued before the start of the 2013 filing season.