Let’s Get To Know Form W-7

Let’s Get To Know Form W-7

For non-citizens who are not eligible to receive a Social Security number but need to file a Federal Tax Return with the IRS for income from U.S. sources, a W-7 Form is used to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or ITIN.

U.S. citizen taxpayers typically use social security numbers to identify themselves and their family members with the Internal Revenue Service, better known as the IRS. But some non-citizens with U.S. tax liabilities are not eligible for a Social Security number. Actually, by filing FormW-7 to the IRS, they may apply for an individual taxpayer identification number or ITIN.

Why ITINs are Necessary

Generally speaking, only people allowed to work in the U.S. are eligible for a Social Security number. It covers U.S. citizens as well as non-citizens including U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Many people use their social security numbers when filing their taxes to identify themselves.

But non-citizens with no work permit sometimes also have to file U.S. tax returns — if, for example, they have income from U.S. sources, or if they are entitled to a refund of withheld money under a tax treaty.

Furthermore, taxpayers who list non-citizen spouses or dependents on their tax return must provide them with identification numbers. It is in cases like this that the identification numbers of individual taxpayers come into play.

About Form W-7

The following information is requested from Form W-7:

  • The applicant's need for an ITIN
  • Name, postal address and, if different, foreign address of the applicant
  • The date of birth and place of birth of the applicant
  • The country of citizenship of the applicant
  • The foreign tax identification number of the applicant, if he or she has one
  • U.S. visa number of the applicant, if necessary
  • Details of documents to verify the identity of the applicant

How to Apply

The IRS emphasizes that an ITIN can only be used for federal tax filings. Having one does not change the residence or immigration status of a person and does not mean that someone is eligible to work in the United States. In addition, you should not normally apply for an ITIN until you need it for a tax return. To qualify, send the following:

  • A completed copy of Form W-7
  • The tax return for which the number is needed
  • Valid ID for the person who needs the number

Valid forms of Identification

The Identification of a person must prove both identity and "alien status" to obtain an ITIN — that is, it must show that the person is not a U.S. citizen. The proof of both is a valid passport or a certified passport duplicate. If the person does not have a passport, at least two of the following documents must be provided by that person. Some of them are proof of identity only while others are proof of foreign status and identity:

  • Photo ID card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (foreign status and identity)
  • Legal Citizenship and Identification visas issued by the State Department
  • International Driver's License in the United States (identity only)
  • U.S. Military ID Card (ID only)
  • Foreign Military Identity Card (foreign identity and status)
  • Foreign National Identity Card (foreign status and identity)
  • U.S. State-issued Non-Driver ID card (foreign status and identity)
  • Certificate of Registration for foreign voters (foreign status and identity)
  • International Birth Certificate (identification; international status and identity if the certificate is from a foreign country)
  • Medical records for children under 6 years of age (identity; if the certificate is foreign, foreign status and identity)
  • School records for children under the age of 14 or under the age of 18 if they are still a student (identity; if they are from a foreign country, legal status, and identity)

The IRS reviews the W-7 and assigns an ITIN and processes the tax return if it approves the request.

Submitting the Form

It is not necessary to file an electronic tax return followed by one or more W-7 forms. You can send it in person at any IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center performing in-person report reviews; most major cities have such assistance centers, and in there is at least one center in each state.

You can also send tax returns with W-7 Forms by mail to:

  • Internal Revenue Service
  • ITIN Operation
  • P.O. Box 149342
  • Austin, TX 78714-9342

AS per the IRS, it takes 6 to 10 weeks to get an ITIN. As of 2018, any ITIN will be revoked if not used for 5 years in a row on any tax return.

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