Do you need help understanding IRS Form W-7? This guide is essential reading for anyone who needs to complete the form. We’ve put together all the necessary information required to file the form quickly and accurately, so you can say goodbye to long hours of paperwork and hello to joyfully filing your taxes!
- An IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is necessary for filing taxes and opening bank accounts if needed. However, an ITIN does not change immigration status. To obtain an ITIN, you must apply to the IRS before filing your tax return.
- If all your documents are in order and you qualify for an ITIN, the IRS will typically send a letter with your tax identification number within seven weeks. During peak season (January 15 through April 30) or from abroad, it may take up to 11 weeks for your ITIN to be issued.
Overview of IRS Form W-7 and what are its purposes?
The IRS Form W-7 is an application for an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for federal tax purposes. An ITIN allows foreign-status taxpayers and United States residents who need to file a U.S. federal tax return but are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) to comply with U.S. tax laws.
You can use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for ITIN renewal, such as filing income taxes or claiming certain tax credits and deductions.
Understanding the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN) for federal tax purposes.
A valid ITIN is used to file taxes and open bank accounts if needed. You must obtain an ITIN through the IRS before filing any tax return, and having an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number does not change your immigration status.
What information should be included in form W-7 (ITIN Application)?
The documents and information necessary to help you establish your foreign status and identity include the following:
- The reason the applicant needs an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
- The applicant’s name, mailing address, and, if different, foreign address
- The applicant’s birth date and location of birth
- The country where the applicant is a citizen
- The applicant’s foreign tax ID number, if you have one
- The applicant’s U.S. visa number, if applicable
- Details about documents (U.S. military ID card, school records if a dependent student under age 18) being submitted to verify the applicant’s foreign status and identity
Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) accompanying federal tax returns for certain kinds of income from international sources, tax treaties, and letters from Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA)
All documents submitted electronically or through the mail must be original or certified copies with visible seals affixed by the issuing government agency that issued them. The IRS may require additional documentation depending on each individual’s unique situation and tax year requirements for federal tax purposes.
Step-by-Step Guide to Filing W-7 Form
After gathering information for the W-7 form, you should follow the instructions below to file this form – you can download this form here:
Step #1: Tell the IRS the reason why you file W-7 Form
In this section, you first tick the box with the situation that applies to you:
- Box a: Nonresident aliens must get an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to claim tax treaty benefits.
- Box b: Nonresident alien filing a tax return.
- Box c: U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a tax return.
- Box d: Dependent of U.S. citizen or resident alien.
- Box e: Spouse of U.S. citizen or resident alien.
- Box f: Nonresident alien student, professor, or researcher filing a tax return or claiming an exception.
- Box g: Dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien holding a U.S. visa.
Step #2: Enter the Name section
- Line 1a: Enter the legal name
- Line 1b: Enter name at birth if different
Step #3: Enter Mailing and Foreign Address
- Line 2: Enter the current mailing address in the U.S
- Line 3: Enter your on-U.S. address where you permanently or usually reside.
Step #4: Enter your birth information
- Line 4: Date of birth, country of birth, city or state or province, your birthed gender
- Step 5: Enter other information:
- Line 6a, specify your country of citizenship. Be sure to spell the country’s full name and not just use the abbreviation.
- Line 6b: If you have a foreign tax I.D. number, enter it.
- Line 6c: If applicable, include the number, expiration date, and USCIS classification of your U.S. visa. Otherwise, put down N/A.
- Line 6d: Specify the documents you’re submitting to the IRS for proof of your foreign status and identity (passport, driver’s license/state I.D., USCIS documentation, etc.)
- Line 6e: confirm if you had a previous ITIN or an Internal Revenue Service Number (IRSN). If so, enter the number and your name on line 6f. Otherwise, skip line 6f.
- Line 6g is only relevant if you checked box f from the “Reason You’re Submitting Form W-7” section.
Step #5: Sign and keep a copy for your records
Before signing, applicants should double-check that all of the information included in the application is accurate and complete. Any discrepancies or incomplete information can result in a delay or rejection.
Additionally, applicants should ensure that all documentation is legible and any signatures are clear and consistent. Taking this extra step before applying can lead to a smoother application process with fewer chances for errors.
Step #6: Prepare all documents applying for the ITIN
You must submit all the requested documents below:
- A completed copy of the W-7 Form
- The tax return that needs the IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
- Original documents supporting the information provided on the W-7 Form (passport, driver’s license/state I.D., USCIS documentation, U.S. military ID card, etc.). The name, date of birth, and country of citizenship must match the information on W-7 – establish your foreign status.
Remember that the ITIN is solely for federal tax filing purposes. It does not entitle applicants to work in the U.S., qualify for Social Security benefits, immigration status, or apply for a green card.
Step #7: Submit the form
You can not submit Form W-7 electronically, also a tax return accompanied by this form. You can submit the form and required documents by mail or person at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center throughout each state.
To send the form via mail, applicants should address their package to the following:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
Connect with IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center
Suppose all your documents are in order, and you qualify for an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. In that case, the IRS will typically send you a letter with your tax identification number within seven weeks. However, it could take up to 11 if requested during peak season (January 15 through April 30) or from abroad.
If you have not received a response to your inquiry within the referenced period, please call 1-800-829-1040 (a toll-free number for citizens within the United States) to check on the status of your application. For taxpayers who reside outside of the U.S., please dial 1-267-941-1000 (this is not a toll-free number).
To remain valid, your ITIN must have been included on U.S. federal tax returns at least once during the years 2018, 2019, and 2020—otherwise, it will expire at the close of 2021.
In conclusion, applying for an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number can be complex. However, by following the steps outlined above and submitting all required documents to the IRS. With the ITIN, you can file federal taxes and comply with IRS regulations.
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