An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a tax processing number assigned by the IRS to taxpayers who are not eligible to receive a Social Security Number (SSN). These numbers are helpful for those who require a federal tax identification number but cannot get an SSN. Although intended only for tax identification purposes, it is not uncommon for schools and banks to also refer to these numbers for identification purposes.
How long do ITINs last?
Due to past concerns about abuse of the numbers, the ITIN is not indefinite. The numbers expire at regular intervals. The IRS reports an estimated 2 million ITINs are set to expire before the end of 2019.
Expirations occur on a rotating cycle. ITINs with a middle number of 83, 84, 85, 86 or 87 are set to expire. ITINs not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three tax years also expire.
What if my ITIN is set to expire?
ITINs are renewable. Those who need to renew their ITIN should do so promptly to avoid a delay in getting their tax refund. This is done by filing a federal Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number along with necessary documents as indicated within the Revised Applications Standards. The form and documentation can be mailed, completed and filed through an agent authorized by the IRS or through an appointment with an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.
In some cases, a failure to properly renew an ITIN or file taxes can result in contact from the IRS. Those who are contacted by the IRS with questions about their tax filings may be the subject of an audit. An attorney can discuss your options in this situation.