How Do I Get an ITIN?

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security Number (SSN). 

There are several ways to obtain an ITIN.

Mail

You can mail your ITIN application along with your tax return to the IRS. To do this, you will need to complete Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, and provide original documentation or certified copies from the issuing agency to prove identity and foreign status. You can find more information on the IRS website on what documentation is required.

IRS walk-in offices

You can also apply for an ITIN in person at an IRS walk-in office. To do this, you will need to bring your tax return along with a completed Form W-7, as well as original documentation or certified copies from the issuing agency to prove identity and foreign status. You can find a list of IRS walk-in offices on the IRS website.

Acceptance Agents

The IRS has also authorized certain Acceptance Agents to assist in the preparation ITIN applications by giving them the authority to validate some documents which then allows the taxpayer to avoid mailing their original documents to the IRS. Acceptance Agents are typically tax professionals, such as certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents. To apply for an ITIN through an Acceptance Agent, you will need to contact the agent directly to schedule an appointment.

Which method is right for you?

The best way to obtain an ITIN depends on your individual circumstances. If you are comfortable mailing and receiving important documents, then mailing your application directly to the IRS may be the best option for you. If you prefer to apply for an ITIN in person, then you can visit an IRS walk-in office, but be sure to expect a delay in scheduling. If you have a tax professional who you trust, then you may want to consider applying for an ITIN through an Acceptance Agent.

If you need to obtain an ITIN, there are several ways to do so. You can mail your application directly to the IRS, visit an IRS walk-in office, or apply through an Acceptance Agent. The best way to obtain an ITIN depends on your individual circumstances.

How long does it take? 

The processing time from the moment you mail your application to the IRS to the time you receive an initial response is approximately 8 weeks. Processing times are shorter now than they have been historically since before the Covid-19 pandemic. 


Posted: October 13, 2023

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