The Internal Revenue Service has implemented two separate clarifying changes to its temporary procedures for issuing Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers to noncitizens with tax extensions and many foreign students.
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Effective Oct. 2, the IRS will allow individuals studying in the United States under the Student Exchange Visitors Program to get ITINs under a streamlined application procedure. SEVP participants already provide documentation to the Department of Homeland Security under the requirements of that program, and will need a letter from their educational institution verifying their status.
Second, the IRS said it is creating special procedures for taxpayers who have an approved tax year 2011 extension to file their completed tax returns.
Under these temporary procedures, eligible taxpayers will be allowed to have their original documents certified by a Certifying Acceptance Agent or an SEVP-approved institution as appropriate rather than mailing originals to the IRS.
Extension filers who choose not to submit the original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency must instead apply through a CAA. Individuals studying under the SEVP will be required to apply through a university, college or other SEVP-approved institution. For both of these groups, the IRS’S temporary procedures cover applications for the primary applicant, their spouse and dependents.
Designed specifically for tax administration purposes, ITINs are only issued to people who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security number. ITINs help the IRS with collecting taxes from foreign nationals, nonresident aliens and others who have filing or payment obligations under U.S. law.
The tightened interim guidelines, which were announced in June, remain in effect for most other noncitizens. More information about ITINs and these interim guidelines can be found at 2012 ITIN Review Frequently Asked Questions.
The temporary procedures apply to these two groups of taxpayers:
1. Noncitizens who have filed extensions: These are noncitizens who requested an extension of time to file a 2011 federal income tax return for resident and nonresident aliens and choose to not submit originals documents or copies certified by the issuing agency. The ITINs issued under this procedure are temporary, expiring one year from the extended return due date (e.g., Oct. 15, 2013). The noncitizens must submit their W-7 and related identification documents through a CAA, along with Form W-7 and related attachments. Click here for special instructions for CAAs.
2. SEVP students: These are individuals admitted to the U.S. under an F, J or M visa who receive taxable scholarship, fellowship or other grants reportable by the school on Form W-2 or Form 1042-S. Click here for special instructions for SEVP institutions, and here for a sample certification letter.
As previously announced, the IRS is in the process of conducting a review of its ITIN procedures (see IRS Toughens ITIN Application Requirements). The IRS said the final rules would be issued before the start of the 2013 filing season.