The IRS has posted special instructions for certifying acceptance agents (CAAs) to use in certifying identification documents for 2011 tax year filers who are filing on extension—returns that are due by Oct. 15, 2012. The identification number issued under these special instructions will be valid until Oct. 15, 2013.
A CAA is a person or entity that is authorized to assist individuals and other foreign persons who do not qualify for a Social Security number but need an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) to process a Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. To obtain an ITIN, taxpayers complete Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The CAA, which enters into a written agreement with the IRS, assists in the application process by reviewing the necessary documents and forwarding the completed forms to the IRS.
The IRS previously announced that, beginning June 22, 2012, and continuing until the IRS issues new rules (which it says it will do by the beginning of the 2013 filing season), it will not issue ITINs unless the applicants provide original documents, such as passports or birth certificates, or certified copies of those documents from the issuing agencies (IR-2012-62). In addition, the IRS announced that ITINs will not be issued based on applications submitted through CAAs unless they attach original documentation or copies of original documents certified by the issuing agency.
The special instructions state that IRS-approved CAAs can certify identification documents under these procedures. The CAA certification is restricted to originals or copies certified by the issuing agency for passports or birth certificates. All other identity documents submitted must be originals or copies certified by the issuing agency with the Form W-7.
CAAs are required to personally review and certify identification documents for the primary applicant, the spouse, and any dependents in a face-to-face interview. CAAs submit copies (or originals for passports or birth certificates if required) of the identification documents that have been certified along with Form 14194, Certificate of Accuracy for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
The documents that CAAs can submit for taxpayers under these special instructions include:
- Completed, signed Form W-7;
- Form 14194 with copies of each identification document certified;
- Originals or copies certified by the issuing agency of identification documents not covered by the temporary procedure;
- Copy of IRS-approved Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return;
- Copy of Form 6401, Request for Missing Information, sent with the IRS-approved Form 4868;
- Original, signed tax year 2011 tax return(s); and
- Other supporting documents necessary to meet the Form W-7 application requirements.
In an August letter to the Commissioner Douglas Shulman, Patricia Thompson, chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee, told the IRS that the new interim ITIN application rules are burdensome and may prevent some taxpayers from getting the documentation they need to qualify for an ITIN. The AICPA requested immediate guidance for taxpayers who need ITINs to comply with their 2011 tax obligations.
—Sally P. Schreiber (email@example.com) is a JofA senior editor.