Per the IRS:
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Per the IRS:
IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security numbers. They are issued regardless of immigration status, because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code. ITINs do not serve any purpose other than federal tax reporting.
An ITIN does not:
As a foreigner, you only need to apply for an ITIN if you
Great question! We wrote an entire blog post on this question here 😃
There are a few exceptions which allow you to apply for an ITIN. You can see the full list here: https://www.irs.gov/instructions/iw7#idm139766236836272
Unless you meet the above exceptions you need to have the following in order to apply for and receive an ITIN:
An application for an ITIN includes:
Regarding proof of foreign status and proof of identity: your passport is the only document that can be used to prove both at the same time.
You can find out the documents that can be used to satisfy either requirement in the "Supporting Documentation Requirements" section here.
Because the passport can be used to prove both foreign status and identity at the same time it is the most popular, easy and common option.
Again, to re-iterate, generally, the ITIN application must accompany your tax return.
However, per the exception 1(a) listed here (image below as well):
Persons who are eligible to claim Exception 1(a) include:
Documentation you must submit if you’re eligible to claim Exception 1(a):
We strongly recommend working with a professional because if your Form W-7 has any mistakes, your ITIN Application will be rejected by the IRS.
However, if you would like to see what the application looks like and see the instructions to fill out the form on your own:
Per the Instructions for Form W-7 (please see the link for the most updated version, the below is directly added from the Instructions):
Mail Form W-7, your tax return (if applicable) or other documents required by an exception, and the documentation described under Supporting Documentation Requirements,earlier, to:
Internal Revenue ServiceITIN OperationP.O. Box 149342Austin, TX 78714-9342
If you mail your application, don’t use the mailing address in the instructions for your tax return.
If you use a private delivery service, submit your Form W-7, your tax return (if applicable) or other documents required by an exception, and the documentation described under Supporting Documentation Requirements, earlier, to:
Internal Revenue ServiceITIN OperationMail Stop 6090-AUSC3651 S. Interregional, Hwy 35Austin, TX 78741-0000
The private delivery service can tell you how to get writtenproof of the mailing date.
You can apply for your ITIN by visiting designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs). They can verify original documentation and certified copies of the documentation from the issuing agency for primary and secondary applicants and their dependents. For dependents, TACs can verify passports, national identification cards, and birth certificates. These documents will be returned to you immediately. Service at TACs is by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 844-545-5640. See IRS.gov/W7DocumentVerification for a list of designated TACs that offer ITIN document authentication service. TACs that don’t offer ITIN document authentication service will mail the original documents, Form W-7, and the tax return to the IRS Austin Service Center for processing.
You can also apply through one of the two types of acceptance agents authorized by the IRS.
Acceptance Agent (AA). An Acceptance Agent (AA) can help you complete and file Form W-7. To get a list of agents, visit IRS.gov and enter “acceptance agent program” in the search box. An AA will need to submit original documentation or certified copies of the documentation from the issuing agency to the IRS for all applicants.
Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA). A Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA) can verify original documentation and certified copies of the documentation from the issuing agency for primary and secondary applicants and their dependents, except for foreign military identification cards. For dependents, CAAs can only verify passports and birth certificates. The CAA will return the documentation immediately after reviewing its authenticity. Taxpayers residing outside of the United States can apply for an ITIN through a CAA.
Again, we strongly recommend working with a professional because a professional accountant can not only help you with your US federal income tax return but also they can help you with your ITIN Application.
And as we mentioned before: if your Form W-7 has any mistakes, your ITIN Application will be rejected by the IRS.
Therefore, we recommend working with a a professional accountant who is also an IRS Acceptance Agent.
As the IRS explains here:
If you apply between January 1st and April 30th it will take 9 to 11 weeks.
If you apply between May 1st and December 31st it will take 7 weeks.
You can call the IRS to check the status of your applicaion:
For a visual chart from the IRS about ITIN renewals, check out this page:
That was a lot to take in.
If you're anything like most people, they'll be one line that stands out: if your Form W-7 has any mistakes, your ITIN Application will be rejected by the IRS.
Why bother applying for an ITIN on your own and risk making a mistake?
Instead, contact Doola. We'll help you get your ITIN through a professional and take any ITIN application stress off your mind.
That way, you can focus on what you do best: building your business and making money.