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Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Requirements

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The requirements to obtain an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) have been updated and strengthened by the IRS. An ITIN is a tax ID number that’s only available to taxpayers who are not eligible to get a Social Security Number (SSN). One of the most important changes is that an ITIN will deactivate if not used on a federal tax return at least once in five consecutive years. If you need an ITIN after it has been deactivated, you must re-apply.

The IRS also no longer accepts notarized copies of documents with the ITIN application. Only original documents such as passports, international IDs, or copies of these documents certified by the agencies that issued them will be accepted. Know that you don’t have to mail them to the IRS. You can hold onto your important original documents, especially your passport, by working with the Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA). These are individuals, businesses, or organizations authorized by the IRS to help you get an ITIN. Examples include some colleges, financial institutions, and many professional tax return preparers.

A CAA will review documentation for you and your spouse, complete a certificate of accuracy, and send it to the IRS with your tax return, application, and a copy of your documents. However, original IDs or certified copies of those documents must still be mailed to the IRS for your dependents.

You can also get help at select volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) sites, low income taxpayer clinics, and some IRS taxpayer assistance centers.

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