The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently updated its procedure for obtaining an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). According to the IRS, it is intended to ensure the reliability of ITIN application processing and an attempt to stop the stealing associated with fraudulent tax ID numbers and fake refund claims.
Individual taxpayer identification number is basically the equivalent of a Social Security Number (SSN) that serves as the legal tax identification of an individual living in the US. An ITIN is issued to individuals who have a valid tax filing requirement but are ineligible to obtain a SSN.
IRS has made a few changes in the rules for acceptance and verification of ITIN applications. Although most of the tax professionals accept the need for changing the way ITIN applications were accepted, the changes were criticized for their timing. The IRS received mainly received negative feedback from tax professionals because the interim guidelines were announced during the tax preparation season.
Updates to the ITIN Application Procedure
According to new interim guidelines, applicants have to submit their original passport or its certified copy from the issuing agency for obtaining an individual taxpayer identification number. This verifies the decision of the IRS to no longer accept the notarized copies of documentation for this purpose.
Since the obligation to submit original passport seems impossible for taxpayers who need to travel as part of their job, IRS has authorized a few trusted outlets to review the original documentation. These include Certifying Acceptance Agents (CAAs) who are authorized to review and certify the authenticity of applicants’ passports to the IRS.
Another significant change made to the previous procedure is the deactivation of ITINs after five years if not in use. An ITIN holder must use this number for tax purposes within five consecutive years; otherwise the number will be expired. Applicants with deactivated numbers will have to reapply using Form W-7.
Updates to the rules of obtaining individual taxpayer identification number require the submission of original documents with the application for minor children. These documents may include original medical records or report cards from school.
Measures to Deter Fraud Issues
In an effort to obtain proper ID validation, the IRS has made strict rules for CAAs. These certifying Acceptance Agents are subjected to Circular 230 – which limits this job of verifying identity to the attorneys, enrolled agents, retirement plan agents, certified public accounts (CAPs) and registered tax return preparers (RTRPs).
IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) have also been made to help individuals applying for an individual taxpayer identification number to submit their applications through a proper channel. These centers are also staffed with IRS authorized Acceptance Agents and the Student Exchange Visitors Program is made available in universities for certifying documents of the students.
All the ACCs are required by the IRS to fill in Form 14194 and issue a certificate to the applicants that they have reviewed the original documentation either face-to-face or through a live interview (via Skype).
In addition, ACCs must meet a few other requirements like formal forensic training and strong diligence standards. IRS also recommends particular tools for verification of someone’s identification to well-trained ACCs only.
In today’s digital world where the risk of identity theft has risen to its peak, these measures taken by the IRS are more likely to provide security to taxpayers and protect the integrity of the tax collection system.
If you want to apply for an, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN tax number and have any other questions, please feel free to contact us at 888-509-3616. If you have any suggestions please share those with us as well. Freedomtax ITIN Number has a professional team of IRS Certifying Acceptance Agents, and tax accounting professionals with more than 16 years of experience, helping immigrants with their ITIN application. Freedomtax can also help immigrant entrepreneurs incorporate a business in the USA. Freedomtax ITIN Tax Number Online services provides Quality, Professional Service with a Family Feel.