Non US citizens are sometimes required to file US tax returns in relation to US source income or if they become tax residents in the US. In this instance the taxpayers must request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number known as an ‘ITIN’ which is used to process the return by the IRS instead of the social security number used for citizens and green card holders. An ITIN will also be required for individuals who are subject to US tax withholding on income and wish to request a refund for all or part of the tax suffered.
In 2016 the IRS will begin deactivating ITINs that have not been used for filing US tax returns for the last five consecutive years, and in this instance a taxpayer will need to apply for a new ITIN if they have filing obligations.
The application for a Taxpayer Identification Number can be made on a Form W7 and will require verification of ID documents in one of the following ways:
- Submission of original passport to the IRS in the United States;
- Obtaining a certified Copy of original documentation from the US Embassy; or
- Obtaining a certified copy of original documentation from a Certified Acceptance Agent.
Sending original documentation in the post to the IRS is at your own risk and can take around 60 days from the receipt and processing of the application for the documents to be returns by US mail.
Arranging an appointment in the US Embassy in London is another option to consider when applying for an ITIN, however please be aware that appointments are available on a walk in basis only and can take a long time to complete the interview process.
The final option is to consult a Certified Acceptance Agent, such as Warrener Stewart, who are qualified by the IRS to certify the original documentation so that the certified copies can be submitted with the application instead of the originals. Please be aware that certification is not the same as notarisation and must be completed by an approved ‘Acceptance Agent’.
If you require a taxpayer identification number and would like advice or assistance with the application process please contact Damian Talbot or Ashleigh Molton who will be happy to help.