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Form W-7: ITIN number application guide

Form W-7: ITIN number application guide

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or tax advice.

Always consult with a tax professional for your specific circumstances.

You can obtain an IRS individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) by completing Form W-7. Using this form, you can also renew your ITIN. - IRS

If you are a non-citizen and you want to file a federal income tax return with the IRS but do not qualify for a Social Security number, you can fill out a Form W-7.

What are ITINs and why they are important

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses Social Security numbers (SSN) to identify U.S. citizens and their families. Some non-citizens with U.S. tax obligations aren't eligible for a Social Security number.

The IRS can provide them with an ITIN if they submit IRS Form W-7. Tax filings with the federal government rely on the ITIN.

But, why are ITINs Important?

Generally, Social Security numbers are only available to people who are eligible to work in the United States. It can include both US citizens as well as non-citizens, i.e. U.S. nationals as well as permanent residents of the United States.

These people use their SSN to identify themselves when filing their taxes.

In any case, non-citizens without work authorization do sometimes have to file U.S. tax returns, too.

For example, if they have income from U.S. sources, or if a tax treaty grants them a refund of withheld money, non-citizens sometimes have to file U.S. tax returns.

Taxpayers who claim non-citizen dependents or spouses on their tax return must also provide an ID number for them.

These situations call for the use of individual taxpayer identification numbers or ITINs. The ITIN gives the IRS a unique identifier to track individuals in their system.

What info is included on Form W-7?

The ITIN is widely known, but most people have never used one. To claim your number, you must fill out a form you might not have heard of.

Obtaining an ITIN and completing Form W-7 go hand in hand. When applying for ITIN, you must fill out a Form W-7, which asks for the following information:

  • Name, mailing address, and foreign address (if different);
  • Your birth date and location of birth;
  • Your country of citizenship;
  • Your foreign tax ID number (if applicable);
  • Your U.S. visa number (if applicable);
  • Other details verifying your identity.

Besides Form W-7, you should provide two of the listed unexpired documents or certified copies:

  • Passport;
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo ID;
  • U.S. Visa;
  • U.S. Driver’s License;
  • U.S. Military identification card;
  • Foreign driver’s license;
  • Foreign military identification card;
  • National ID card with name, address, photo, date of birth, and expiration date;
  • U.S. state ID card;
  • Foreign voter’s registration card;
  • Civil birth certificate;
  • Medical records (for a dependent under age 6);
  • School records (for a dependent student under age 18).

In all cases, unless there is a dependent under a certain age, one of the two documents must have a photo. There are some documents that can prove your foreign status, your identity, or both.

The only document you need is a valid original passport and, if you are not a dependent, you do not need a second identity document.

How to apply for a Form W-7?

An ITIN is a tax identification number that helps with filing federal taxes. It does not alter your residency status, right to work, or immigration status.

It's generally not a good idea to apply for an ITIN through IRS W7 Form until you need it to file a tax return.

Applying for a Form W-7 can be done by following these steps:

  1. Gather all necessary documents such as passport, national ID card or birth certificate.
  2. Complete the Form W-7 and include any required documentation.
  3. Submit the form and documentation to the IRS either by mail or in person at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.
  4. Wait for the IRS to process the application and issue an ITIN.

W 7 Instructions

When completing this form, make sure you answer the questions in the way they apply to the person you are completing the form for.

a) Application type

Please check the appropriate box if you are:

b) Reason you’re submitting Form W-7

Form W-7 requires you to check the box indicating the reason for completing it, even if you're renewing your ITIN.

Please check the box that best describes your reason for submitting Form W-7 if more than one box applies to you. In this section, you must make a selection.

c) Line instructions

If you do not qualify for any section of each line, enter "N/A" (not applicable). Leave no blanks in any section. As an example, line 4 should have three separate entries on it.

d) Signature

You as an applicant should sign Form W-7. If you cannot sign, then either your parent or your court-appointed guardian can sign.

NOTE! It's important to ensure that all information provided on the Form W-7 is accurate and complete, as any errors or missing information may delay the processing of the application.

Form W-7 preview



Where to submit Form W-7?

Form W-7 cannot be filed electronically. Tax returns and additional documentation must be submitted with it on paper by either:

  • visiting an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in the U.S., or
  • mailing it to the Internal Revenue Service, ITIN Operation, at P.O. Box 149342, Austin TX 78714-9342, or
  • by using a private delivery service to the address: Internal Revenue Service, ITIN Operation, Mail Stop 6090-AUSC, 3651 S. Interregional Hwy 35, Austin, TX 78741-0000.

What if I have problems with my W-7 Form?

The IRS needs a complete picture of your finances when you apply for your new ITIN number and file any applicable tax returns. A successful first tax return lays the groundwork for a successful future return.

If you're having problems with your Form W-7, there are a few things you can do to get assistance. You can contact the IRS directly by calling the toll-free number on the form or by visiting an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

If the problem is related to missing or incorrect documentation, you will need to provide the correct information to the IRS. If the problem is related to a mistake on the form, you will need to correct it and resubmit it to the IRS.

You can also seek help from an authorized acceptance agent or tax professional who can assist with the application process. It's important to address any issues as soon as possible to avoid delays in processing your application.

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1. Can I file W-7 without a tax return?

No, even if you are applying for an ITIN number application for the first time, you will need to attach the original tax return.

2. Who needs to fill out a W-7?

The Form W-7 is for use by those individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number. They need a tax identification number to file a federal income tax return under U.S. tax laws.

3. Can I submit a W-7 form online?

No, unfortunately, W-7 cannot be filed electronically. You will either have to visit the IRS center or mail to the IRS.

4. How long does it take to process W-7?

Obtaining an ITIN takes between 6 and 10 weeks, according to the IRS. An ITIN expires if it hasn't been used in 3 years on a federal tax return.

Ines Zemelman, EA
Founder of TFX