The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced procedures to strengthen its Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program requirements. ITINs are only issued to individuals who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number. ITINs allow the IRS to collect taxes from foreign nationals, resident and nonresident aliens and others who have filing or payment obligations. The new procedures are intended to protect the ITIN application process. Some of the key changes are highlighted below:

  • New ITINs will expire after five years. This is to ensure that ITINs are being used for legitimate tax purposes. Taxpayers who still need an ITIN will be able to reapply at the end of the expiration period.
  • The IRS will explore options for deactivating or refreshing the information relating to previously issued ITINs.
  • Original documents or certified copies will still be required for most applicants. However, there will be more options and flexibility for people applying for an ITIN, including having a Certifying Acceptance Agents (CAA) review original documents or certified copies.
  • In order to verify the identity of children under six, one of the documents can include original medical records. For school-age children, the documentation can include original, current year school records such as a report card.

The new procedures will become effective on January 1, 2013 in anticipation for the 2013 tax-filing season.