Many ITINs Expired on January 1; Renew Now to Avoid Refund Delays.

     An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is used by anyone who has tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but is not eligible for a Social Security number. Under a recent law change by Congress, any ITIN not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years expired on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. In addition, any ITIN with middle digits of either 78 or 79 (9NN-78-NNNN or 9NN-79-NNNN) also expired on that date.

     This means that anyone with an expired ITIN should act quickly to ensure they have a renewed ITIN in time to file a return during the upcoming tax season. Failure to do so will result in refund delays and possible loss of eligibility for some tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed.

     To avoid processing delays, ITIN renewal applicants should be sure to use the latest version of Form W-7, revised September 2016. This version of the form, along with its instructions, is currently posted on IRS.gov.

     To ensure prompt processing of the form, ITIN renewal applicants should also complete the following steps: 

         -At the top of the form, be sure to check the box that says, “Renew an existing ITIN.”

         -Under “Reason you’re submitting Form W-7,” every applicant must check one of the eight boxes. If more than one applies, be sure to check the option that best describes the tax purpose for filing the application. Do not write “ITIN renewal” in this section of the form, as it is not a valid reason.

         -On Line 3, an applicant living outside the United States should enter their foreign address, if different from the mailing address on Line 2. If now living in the U.S., be sure to enter the foreign country of last residence. See the Form W-7 instructions for details.

         -Include original supporting and required identification documentation, or certified copies from the issuing agency to prove foreign status and identity.