Many Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2016. Find out which ITINs are set to expire and what the ITIN renewal process is.
What is an ITIN?
Someone who is ineligible for a Social Security number (SSN) can apply for an ITIN. The ITIN is used for tax purposes.
ITINs are nine digits long and look like an SSN. ITINs start with the number nine.
Why are ITINs expiring?
ITINs are expiring because of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, which Congress enacted December 2015.
Which ITINs are expiring?
Not all ITINs are expiring. Two groups are affected by the ITIN expiration.
- Unused ITINs: ITINs that have not been used on a federal tax return in the past three years (covering 2013, 2014, and 2015 tax returns) will expire unless renewed.
- Expiring ITINs: ITINs issued before 2013 need to be renewed. These ITINs have a rolling renewal schedule. This year, ITINs issued before 2013 and have the middle digits of 78 or 79 will expire. ITINs issued prior 2013 but have different middle digits will expire at a later date. The IRS has not released the rest of the rolling ITIN renewal schedule yet. If someone’s ITIN has 78 or 79 as the middle digits, the IRS will send them Letter 5821 to the most recent address on file.
9XX-78-XXXX or 9XX-79-XXXX
When do ITINs expire?
ITINs that expire this year will expire on Dec. 31, 2016.
What is the ITIN renewal process?
An individual only needs to renew their ITIN if they need to use it to file a tax return.
ITINs can be renewed beginning on Oct. 1, 2016.
Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number is used for ITIN renewal. The IRS will post an updated version of the form in September. Only the updated form—marked with “Rev. 9-2016”—should be used for ITIN renewal.
Applicants for renewal should check the “Renewal” box on the form. To renew an ITIN, Form W-7 does not need an attached tax return (for a normal application, there does need to be an attached tax return).
There are three ways someone can submit Form W-7:
- Mail Form W-7 and identification documents to the IRS address listed on the form. Identification documents will be returned within 60 days.
- Use an IRS authorized Certified Acceptance Agent or an Acceptance Agent.
- Visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. With this option, identification documents do not need to be mailed to the IRS. An appointment must be made in advance.
If the ITIN is expiring because it was issued before 2013, the individual applying for renewal can attach a copy of Letter 5821 to expedite processing.
The IRS will send a letter once it approves the application for renewal. Once an ITIN is renewed, it remains in effect unless it is not used for three years.
“The ITIN program is critical to allow millions of people to meet their tax obligations,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS will be taking steps to help taxpayers with these changes, and we’re designing this effort to minimize the burden as much as possible. We will be working with partner groups on an outreach effort to share information about these changes to ensure people understand what they need to do in advance of next year’s tax season.”
For more information, individuals should check the IRS website.
If someone is eligible for an SSN, they should not renew their ITIN. Instead, they should apply for an SSN.
Once they have an SSN, they should write a letter to their local IRS office. The letter should explain that they have an SSN and they want their tax records combined under the SSN. For more information, check the IRS website.
What happens if the ITIN isn’t renewed?
If the ITIN isn’t renewed, the person using the ITIN might have problems when they submit their federal tax return. There might be a delay in tax return processing. Tax refunds might also be delayed. And, an expired ITIN can make someone ineligible for certain tax credits.