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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

IRS Clarifies Temporary ITIN Procedures

October 4, 2012

Following a series of discussions with representatives of the higher education community, the IRS has implemented two separate clarifying changes to its temporary procedures for issuing Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), enabling foreign students and scholars visiting the U.S. under the Student Exchange Visitors Program to get ITINs under a streamlined procedure. IRS has also crafted special procedures for individuals with an approved 2011 extension to file their tax returns. The changes became effective October 2, 2012.

Under these temporary procedures, eligible taxpayers will be allowed to have their original documents certified by a Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA) or a Student Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP)-approved institution as appropriate rather than mailing originals to the IRS. Extension filers that choose not to submit original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency must apply through a CAA, while individuals studying under the SEVP will be required to apply through a university, college, or other SEVP-approved institution.

For both groups, these temporary procedures cover ITIN applications for the primary applicant, their spouse, and dependents.

The tightened interim guidelines, remain in effect for most other noncitizens. More information about these interim guidelines can be found at 2012 ITIN Review Frequently Asked Questions.

The temporary procedures apply to:

Noncitizens who have filed extensions: These are noncitizens who requested an extension of time to file a 2011 federal income tax return for resident and nonresident aliens and choose not to submit original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency. The ITINs issued under this procedure are temporary, expiring one year from the extended return due date (e.g., Oct. 15, 2013). The noncitizens must submit their W-7 and related identification documents through a CAA, along with Form W-7 and related attachments.

SEVP Students: These are individuals admitted to the U.S. under an F, J or M visa who receive taxable scholarship, fellowship or other grants reportable by the school.

IRS continues to review ITIN procedures. Final rules are expected prior to the start of the 2013 filing season.

Related Information:


Mary Bachinger
Director, Tax Policy