My name is Rick Byrne,
and I am a tax preparer in Houston, Texas. As a large segment of my
business involves serving the immigrant population, the situation often
arises when a person does not have a social security number.
Although he doesn't have an SSN he may still wish to file a tax return in
order to receive the refund to which he's entitled. Also he may need
to file a tax return for the purposes of demonstrating to the immigration
service that he is a productive member of society.
unpleasantness of September 11th, 2001 I've observed an increase in the scrutiny
that the IRS gives to ITIN applications. In my opinion the reasons
for this are as follows: 1) the government wants to investigate if the applicant
is wanted in connection with any criminal acts, 2) tax changes starting
with the 2001 tax year allow ITIN holders to receive a refund in excess of
their federal income tax withheld, therefore dramatically increasing the
outflows to these individuals, and 3) demand for ITINs is up due to the
tax law change mentioned in # 2, above.
Because of these factors it is taking much longer for clients to
receive their ITIN numbers. Also, the IRS is very selective about
what supporting evidence they will accept before issuing the ITIN.
For these reasons it behooves us to prepare the forms to best fulfill the
IRS' requirements and to take whatever steps we can to expedite the
processing of the form.
The information contained on this page is knowledge I have gleaned from
numerous trips to the local IRS office and discussions with IRS employees.
In some areas the W7's instructions are not clear, or may conflict with
what the IRS staff actually wants to see.
Step # 1: Download the W7 fill-in forms
from the IRS' web site.
My handwriting is lousy. Perhaps worse than my handwriting is
that I'm constantly making mistakes and scratching out what I've written.
The IRS staff will take your applications more seriously when they see
that they've been professionally prepared.
Acquire a full version of Adobe Acrobat, not just the reader. The
full version will allow you to save the forms with the clients'
information. This will save time in case you have to make some minor
changes to a W7.
Use the English version of the form for all your clients. By
submitting the English form all correspondence about the application will
be in English. I prefer the English version because it has more
space to enter data on line 6d.
Step # 2: Assemble the required documentation
Have your clients bring you the original documents listed below.
Since you're going to be bringing them to the IRS office yourself, there
is little risk of them getting lost.
Although there may be additional documents that the IRS deems
acceptable, this list is what is most commonly available and most readily
accepted by the IRS. TWO forms of ID are needed for each
Step # 3: Filling out the W-7 form
If the applicant has been in the U.S. for less than 180 days, choose
If the applicant is an adult and has been in the U.S.
for more than 180 days, choose option c.
will fall into this category.
Options d and e: choose the
appropriate option and write the primary taxpayer's name and SSN / ITIN in
the space provided. If the taxpayer does not have a SSN or ITIN,
because they're applying for their own ITIN at the same time, write
their name and "ITIN applied for concurrently."
Section 2: Put the address
where the applicant wishes to have his correspondence mailed. If the
taxpayer is planning on moving in the near future put your office address,
or a friend or relative's address. Take a moment to verity the
address with the USPS web site. You can put a foreign address here,
but don't say you weren't warned.
Section 3: If the person is
physically outside the U.S., put the actual,
physical address where the person lives. If the person is living in
the U.S., put "relocated to United States" on the first line, and the name
of the foreign country where he last resided on the second line.
Sections 4-5: Complete as
Section 6 a-c: Complete box 6a.
If applicable, fill out boxes 6b and 6c. If not applicable write N/A
Section 6 b: Fill out this
information. What doesn't fit on the computer write in
manually. The IRS examiner will verify
this section with information from the supporting evidence.
Section 6 e: Most applicants
will choose no.
Section 6 f-g: These fields will
not apply to most applicants. Write N/A or none in these boxes.
Signature area: If the
applicant is 14 years of age or older, he must sign the form
himself. If the subject is less than 14 years of age a parent or
guardian must sign. If someone other than the applicant is
signing (i.e. a parent or guardian), type the signer's name in the
Name of Delegate field. If the signer is the applicant's parent,
indicate as such. Do not check the box for court-appointed guardian
unless you are also submitting court documents indicating as such.
Step # 4: Make notarized copies of the clients'
The pamphlet that they give you when you become a notary contains the
verbiage for certified copies.
For easily replaceable documents, like the constancia, I just go
ahead and mail the original.
Also, I've begun scanning the supporting documentation and storing it
on my server. This way if another copy is ever needed, I don't have
to bother the client to bring to to me again.
Step # 5: Mail the 1040(s), W7s, and supporting
documents to the IRS.
I previously recommended bringing the documents personally to the IRS
office. That worked well under the old system (pre-December 2003).
However, as my schedule is busier this year, I don't have time to go to
the IRS office every week.
But if it works with your schedule, I recommend paying a visit to your
local IRS office at least once. You may receive valuable guidance on
preparing the W7s.
I find that Priority Mail from the US Postal Service is the best
overall compromise between cost, speed, and convenience. If you buy
the shipping label through the USPS web site
you'll get delivery confirmation at no charge. Scan or file the
receipt so you have a record of the tracking number and when it was sent.
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Last modified by:
Tuesday September 24, 2013 08:59:20 PM