There are two things unavoidable in life: death and paying taxes. That is also true for undocumented immigrants, who contribute to the U.S. economy using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a social security number.
ITINs are nine-digit tax processing numbers issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to foreign nationals, resident aliens, and undocumented workers.
The IRS recently announced changes to the ITIN program that will require some individuals to renew their numbers. In December, a law passed in Congress called the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act), which requires ITINs that have not been used on a federal tax return at least once in three years to be renewed starting October 1, 2016.
Additionally, ITINs issued by the IRS before 2013 that have been used on a federal tax return in the past three years will need to be renewed according to the following schedule:
- ITINs issued before 2008 will remain in effect until January 1, 2017.
- ITINs issued in 2008 will remain in effect until January 1, 2018.
- ITINs issued in 2009 or 2010 will remain in effect until January 1, 2019.
- ITINs issued in 2011 or 2012 will remain in effect until January 1, 2020.
In other words, if you have not used your ITIN number as an individual or a dependent at least once in the last three years, you will need to renew it starting this week. If you have an ITIN number issued before 2013, you need to change it according to the schedule.
The process for applying for an ITIN number will not change as a result of the PATH Act. Individuals will apply for an ITIN by submitting Form W-7 – Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (Form W-7SP for the Spanish language version).
Most taxpayers must submit their Form W-7 with the tax return for which the ITIN is needed.
Before this act, individuals received the ITIN number once, and that number remained in effect unless the individual requested an SSN with the right documentation.
Follow Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund for updates and in-depth information on changes affecting the immigrant community. Contact a qualified attorney if you have questions on your tax or immigration options.