An ITIN is a nine digit number that is issued by the IRS to the resident aliens and other foreign nationals, who does not possess any Social Security Number, for carrying out the various tax processing activities in the United States. Apart from that the individuals use this number as a legal identity proof regardless of their immigration status when applying for a bank loan or credit card. The ITIN does not serve the authorization to work or provide any social security benefits of earning income. They are basically used by the millions of people for federal tax reporting only. The free renewals are an extended part of the free ITIN service that is offered by the tax offices to help the individuals in meeting the various tax obligations.
The IRS emphasizes the fact that no action is necessary for ITIN holders who do not want to file a tax return in the subsequent year. But then the question arises what is the need for ITIN renewal. The answer to this is in accordance with the new law passed under the PATH act there are two key groups of ITIN holders. The first includes all those taxpayers who have not used their ITIN on a federal tax return for the last three years must renew their ITIN before filling the 2016 tax return. Second the individuals who have an ITIN that was issued before 2013 will begin to expire based on its middle digits. Not renewing an expired ITIN can result in a delay in the refunds as well as the ineligibility in applying for certain tax credit like the Child Tax Credit or some other additional penalties.
Since ITIN runs parallel to the tax preparation services both the applicants and their dependent spouses, children can also claim for an ITIN renewal. In that case they should provide a valid reason for renewing. There are three ways in which the applicants can renew their ITIN applications. They could either:
• Mail their application form W7 to the office of IRS along with all the necessary, original and certified documents attached to it. The original documents are returned back to the candidates within 60 days.
• Take the help of the various certified acceptance agents or acceptance agents around the world. These agents are basically individuals, business institutes who work in a written agreement with the IRS for verifying all the documents submitted. Then they send the certified authenticated copies to the IRS for processing.
• Make an appointment with the IRS tax assistance center in lieu of mailing all the original documents.
There are a number of sources available to assist the applicants for renewal programs. Also, the IRS is working closely with a variety of partner groups in order to share information about the ITIN renewal services and raise an awareness among the people about the new guidelines to be followed. Steps have also been taken to provide a family renewal option in which applicants having an ITIN with the middle digits of 78 and 79 can choose to renew the ITIN for the whole family instead of waiting to renew them individually. It takes nearly 7 weeks to process the ITIN renewal and the candidates applying for renewals need not submit their tax return along with the form. Offering renewal services also provide goodwill for the existing tax preparation business.