With the passing of the new immigration law, do you have questions about your tax obligations?
Even if you don’t have a valid Social Security Number (SSN), you can file taxes safely by getting an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). An ITIN is a number that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gives to individuals who can’t get a Social Security Number but need to file a tax return.
How will I know if my ITIN is expiring?
You will likely receive a letter from the IRS indicating that your ITIN or the ITIN of someone else on your tax return will expire on December 31, 2017. This is occurring as part of a new law implemented last year, under which ITINs will need to be renewed.
You should know:
- An ITIN may look like a Social Security Number, but don’t be fooled! It’s not the same. An ITIN doesn’t let you work legally in the U.S. It lets you file taxes and can help you open a bank account.
- Applying for an ITIN will not get you deported. The government agency that handles taxes and ITINs does not share information with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, except in the rarest of cases.
- By filing your tax return using an ITIN, you may be able to get a tax refund. Be sure to keep records of the tax documents you filed using your ITIN. They will be important to have when you file for citizenship.
How do I get help with renewing or applying for my ITIN?
- Option 1: Our tax clinic has created a Do It Yourself (DIY) ITIN Renewal instructions for your reference (English, Spanish).
- Option 2: The IRS has published a directory of Certified Acceptance Agents who will charge a fee for assisting you.
- Option 3: IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers can offer free assistance by appointment. Contact your local office.
What to bring?
Individuals whose ITINs will be expiring should ensure that they have current documents showing proof of identity and foreign status. In the past, the IRS has accepted an original and unexpired passport as proof of identity and foreign status. The Form W-7 Instructions contain a list of other documents that prove either identity or foreign status.