ARTICLE | December 01, 2023

Whether you’re a foreign investor or non-resident alien, understanding the U.S. tax system can be a complex process. One crucial element to comprehend is the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). As a Certifying Acceptance Agent with the IRS, our team at Insero & Co. CPAs is well-equipped to assist with your ITIN requirements and navigate you through the maze of international tax regulations.

An ITIN is a tax processing number, issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to individuals who are required to file a U.S. tax return but do not qualify for a Social Security Number (SSN). It serves as a US federal identification number, primarily used for federal tax reporting.

For instance, let’s take the case of an international investor looking to invest in U.S. real estate. Under U.S. tax laws, any income generated from such investments is subject to U.S. tax. This includes rental income or any capital gains realized on the sale of the property. To comply with these regulations, the foreign investor would need an ITIN to file their U.S. tax returns.

So, how does one qualify for an ITIN? Primarily, there must be a federal tax purpose for applying. This essentially means you need to demonstrate a requirement to pay U.S. taxes or be eligible for a tax treaty benefit. The most common method to apply for an ITIN is by attaching the application to a federal tax return.

However, even if you don’t need to file a federal tax return, exceptions exist that allow you to obtain an ITIN. These include circumstances involving passive income subject to third-party withholding, receiving taxable scholarships, or having a home mortgage loan on real property you own in the U.S. subject to third-party reporting.

The ITIN allows these individuals to benefit from existing international tax treaties and avoid the highest tax rates.

The application process for an ITIN can be somewhat complex. You will need to complete an IRS Form W-7, providing original or certified copies of documents to establish your identity and foreign status. A foreign passport can be used to prove both, though if a passport is not available, the IRS will accept a combination of at least two other documents, one of which must contain a photo.

You can apply for an ITIN while in the U.S. by scheduling an appointment with an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center or through a Certifying Acceptance Agent. If you’re abroad, the IRS accepts applications via mail or through a Certifying Acceptance Agent.

It’s important to remember that changes enacted under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act affect the ITIN application process, and prospective applicants should review these before proceeding.

At Insero & Co. CPAs, we understand the complexities of international tax services and the crucial role ITIN requirements play in this process. As a Certifying Acceptance Agent with the IRS, our team of consultants can guide you through the ITIN application process, ensuring that you meet all the ITIN requirements and assist in submitting your application. Our comprehensive international tax services are designed to provide clear, concise, and personalized solutions to meet your unique tax needs.

In conclusion, whether you’re a foreign investor or non-resident alien, obtaining an ITIN can be an essential step in fulfilling your U.S. tax responsibilities. Contact us today, and let our experienced team guide you on your journey through the world of international tax services.

Do you have questions or want to talk?

Call us at (800) 232-9547 or fill out the form below and we’ll contact you to discuss your specific situation.

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About the Author: David Evans


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