From now until the end of the year, the IRS will be working on strengthening its ITIN program. ITINS, which are solely for administrative purposes, are issued to individuals who cannot obtain Social Security numbers. Recently, however, the IRS has been criticized for its issuing of numbers to illegal immigrants and undocumented workers. According to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS paid out $4.2 billion in tax credits to individuals not authorized to work in the United States.
During the interim period in which it is making changes to the issuance procedure, the IRS will only issue ITIN numbers to those who can provide the proper original documentation—birth certificates and passport—or a copy of the documentation from the issuing agency.
These changes, the IRS promises, are designed to “strengthen and protect the integrity” of the ITIN procedure.
The IRS will use the interim time period to gather information and sort out any issues that may arise before the beginning of the 2013 filing season, at which time the rules will be solidified. The IRS is attempting to clear up the procedure from danger of fraud or deceit, as the program is vital in the IRS’ collecting of taxes from foreign nationals, non-resident aliens, and others who have filing obligations with the IRS.
While the ITIN Program is in the interim period, filers who need an ITIN number in order to get their returns processed can mail their original documentation or a certified copy of the originals. They may also submit the paperwork at an IRS office, at which time the paperwork will be forwarded to an ITIN center for processing. New applicants must also submit answers to an additional questionnaire that the IRS has prepared.
There are some individuals who are exempted from this new procedure, including US military personnel and their spouses. For further information on these exemptions, please visit the IRS website or speak to your tax professional.
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