IRS suspends issuing ITINs without original documentation

BY SALLY P. SCHREIBER

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), the IRS will not issue individual taxpayer identification numbers (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). Previously, ITINs could be issued based on notarized copies of the required documents. In addition, ITINs will not be issued based on applications submitted through certified acceptance agents unless they attach original documentation or copies of original documents certified by the issuing agency.

To obtain an ITIN, taxpayers complete Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. ITINs are issued for taxpayers who are not eligible for Social Security numbers (SSN). ITINs are used by, for example, foreign taxpayers who have to file income tax returns in the United States.
  
These interim rules do not apply to military spouses and dependents without an SSN who need an ITIN, or nonresident aliens applying for ITINs for the purpose of claiming tax treaty benefits. Although some nonresident aliens may still be subject to the previous documentation standard, the IRS warns that their applications will face heightened scrutiny.

Taxpayers who submitted Forms W-7 before June 22, 2012, will not be subject to the new requirements and do not need to take any action unless the IRS contacts them.

Sally P. Schreiber ( sschreiber@aicpa.org ) is a JofA senior editor.

SPONSORED REPORT

Questions to ask before committing to the cloud

Cloud computing has its pros and cons. In this report, we answer common questions CPAs may have as they consider transitioning partially or fully to the cloud.

QUIZ

News quiz: Experts offer guidance on accounting standards

Take this short quiz to see how much you know about the news, including a couple of SEC announcements, and facts cited in the guidance experts have offered on accounting standards.

CHECKLIST

Auditing risks in culture

Cultural flaws can seriously damage an organization. Here’s how internal auditors can reduce risks by embedding culture audits into existing audit programs.