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Like most revenue authorities around the world, the United States’ Internal Revenue Service tracks people by number, not name.
For individuals, there are two kinds of numbers: U.S. citizens, residents, and people with work permits are issued Social Security Numbers (“SSNs”). Everyone else uses Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (“ITINs”).
If you’re in the “everyone else” category, and earn U.S.-source income, say from renting out a property, owning an interest in a partnership, holding money in a bank account, or if you’re selling a U.S. property, you need an ITIN.
ITINs have been around in their current form for about 16 years. Over the past number of years, however, some people have provided ITINs to U.S. employers as evidence they are legally able to work in the United States. Since SSNs and ITINs look the same (both have 9 digits), many U.S. employers don’t notice the difference.
In order to cut down on such fraud, in June 2012 the IRS announced restrictions on the issuance of ITINs (see IR-2012-62).
The major impact of the June announcement was to require original or certified identification documents to be sent to the IRS when applying for an ITIN (in most cases). Not many people wanted to send the IRS a birth certificate, driver’s license or passport. The practical response in Canada was to get a certified copy of one’s passport, and send that in with the application.
The IRS has announced that it will be tweaking these new requirements beginning January 1, 2013 (see IR-2012-98)
There are some interesting changes:
Full details on the new rules are here.
To find out how to obtain an ITIN, click here.
MNP can process ITINs through all of its offices across Canada.
Related Topics:IRS; U.S. Tax; Employees
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