The PATH Act and What You Need to Know About Expiring ITINs

Tax News

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, which was passed by Congress and signed into law last year, states that any ITIN not used at least once in the last three years and ITINs with middle digits 78 or 79 (xxx-78-xxxx; xxx-79-xxxx), regardless if they have been used in the last three years, will no longer be valid for use on a tax return as of January 1, 2017 and will need to be renewed for taxpayers who need to file their 2016 taxes.

ITINs are used by people who have tax filing or payment obligations under U.S. law, but who are not eligible for a social security number.

If you have an expiring ITIN and need to file your 2016 tax return in the coming tax season, the IRS encourages you to submit an ITIN application package in the next few weeks to avoid any unnecessary delays and allow for smoother and faster processing of your tax return.

Here are some helpful answers to some common questions you may have about renewing your ITIN.

How do I renew my ITIN?

You can renew your ITIN for free by filling out a Form W-7 and submitting required documentation. Your W-7 application can be submitted via mail to the IRS or you can call and make an appointment at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

Do I have to pay someone to renew my ITIN?

No, you can renew your ITIN for free. You don’t need to pay someone or go anywhere to renew your ITIN. You simply fill out the Form W-7, supply the required supporting documentation, and mail the W-7 application to the IRS.

I heard you have to include your tax return for the current tax year with your ITIN application. Is that true?

No, if you are renewing your existing ITIN, you do not need to send your tax return with the Form W-7 renewal application.

Does everyone with an expiring ITIN have to renew?

No, there are some cases where you would not need to renew like if your ITIN is only used on information returns filed with the IRS by third parties.

What about my spouse and kids? Do they have to renew their expiring ITINs?

Yes, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien and you file jointly with your spouse who has an expiring ITIN, your spouse will need to renew their ITIN in order for you to claim an exemption for them.

If your kids are eligible to be claimed as dependents on your tax return then their ITINs will also need to be renewed so you are able to claim the dependent exemption for them.

How long will it take for the IRS to process my renewal application?

If you apply soon, per the IRS, allow 7 weeks for them to notify you of your ITIN application status. Once tax season opens, processing is expected to take up to 11 weeks. Send in your renewal application as soon as possible so there are no delays in processing your tax return and so you can e-file your tax return.

What happens if I didn’t renew my expired ITIN and try and file my return? 

If you file your tax return with an expired ITIN you will experience processing delays and possible loss of eligibility for some tax benefits until your ITIN is renewed. However, once you renew your ITIN, these potential tax benefits will be reconsidered.

Don’t worry about keeping up on the latest tax laws. TurboTax has you covered. Check back with the TurboTax blog to get the latest updates and to get tips to help you save money on your taxes.

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