Applying for ITIN: A Comprehensive Guide to Documents and Costs

October 17, 2023
2 min read

Venturing into the realm of US tax compliance, a significant step for non-resident aliens and foreign nationals is obtaining an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). An ITIN is indispensable for those looking to fulfill their tax obligations in the absence of a Social Security Number. This guide will walk you through the process of applying for an ITIN, the requisite documents, and a comparison of costs across different ITIN services.

Essential Documents for ITIN Application

Applying for an ITIN necessitates providing certain documents to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for verification. Here's a rundown of the documents you'll need:

  • Identification Verification:
  • Primary Document: A valid, current passport is the cornerstone for identity and foreign status verification.
  • Alternative Documents: In the absence of a passport, a combination of two other documents such as a national identification card, birth certificate, or driver’s license can be used.
  • Supporting Documents: These documents illustrate your necessity for an ITIN. Examples include a tax return, financial institution letter, or government agency letter demonstrating your US tax filing requirement.
  • W-7 Form: The W-7 form is the official ITIN application form. Ensure it's accurately filled out to avoid processing hiccups. You can download it from the IRS website or collect it from a local IRS office.

Cost Comparison of ITIN Services

When applying for an ITIN, you might want to consider professional assistance to streamline the process. Below is a comparison of ITIN service costs:

  • ITIN.Support: Charges $199 for a comprehensive package including expedited shipping and 48-hour turnaround.
  • The standard fee is $497, although they offer promotional discounts occasionally.
  • H&R Block: Provides free ITIN application or renewal services when you file your U.S. federal income tax return at their participating locations.

Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA)

Certified Acceptance Agents (CAAs) can be of help if you prefer not to send original documents to the IRS or seek professional guidance. CAAs are IRS-authorized to review, certify, and submit your documents, albeit at an additional cost.

ITIN Renewal

ITINs have a validity period after which they need renewal. For renewal, submit a new W-7 form along with the necessary supporting documents. Mention the reason for renewal, like a change in immigration status or the expiration of your current ITIN.

Timely applying for an ITIN and adhering to the document requisites can smoothen your tax compliance journey in the US. Remember, the process can take several weeks, so it's prudent to act well in advance of tax deadlines.

Have you applied for an ITIN before? What documents did you need to provide? Let us know in the comments and explore more insights on our blog.

For more detailed experiences and guidance, check out our post on [how to obtain your ITIN quickly].