ITIN Application Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in regard to applications for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Alliance Law Firm International (ALFI) does offer Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA) service to its clients and select partners. Please read the following notes to answer questions you may have about the service. We are available to follow-up with any information that is not addressed in this message.

1. What do I need to obtain an ITIN?

An ITIN is issued by the IRS only when an applicant can demonstrate a tax purpose for the number and is not otherwise eligible for a Social Security Number. Tax purposes include the need to file a US tax return (1040/1040NR), buying US real property or filing for an exemption certificate under the Foreign Investment in US Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA), being a partner in a US partnership with a tax reporting requirement, claiming Tax Treaty exemptions, and some other purposes.

Applicants need to supply the IRS with a signed Form W7 ITIN Application, documentation of the tax purpose, and a certified copy of their identification documents, usually a foreign passport, although other documents may be used.

2. How do I get my passport or other identity documents certified?

ALFI can certify foreign passports and other identity documents for submission with Form W7. If we do the certification, there is no need to send original copies of the identification documents to the IRS, and we can process most of the transaction electronically. Applicants may also have their documents certified by the issuing agency (usually a foreign government ministry), by presenting them to an authorized IRS employee at an IRS Service Center, or by sending the original document to the IRS with Form W7.

3. What is your fee for submitting an ITIN application?

For applicants who are clients of our firm. The application fee is included with our regular hourly or flat fee rate structures, there is no separate charge.

For applicants who are clients of one of our partner firms our fee is $475.00. Fees are only for submission of Form W7 and certification of identity documents. Advice on tax purpose or other underlying documents prepared by the applicant or partner firms is outside of the scope of this service. ALFI may provide reasonable follow-up for issues that are under the control of ALFI. Any additional work that is outside of ALFI’s scope of service requires a separate fee and client agreement.

For applicants who are using our CAA service as a stand-alone service our fee is $475.00. However, we do not provide stand-alone service for tax return filing (1040/1040NR) or FIRPTA. Tax return filiers and FIRPTA applicants should be clients of our firm and use our service to prepare those documents. The reason for this policy is that issuance of an ITIN is heavily dependent on the underlying tax documents, and we have encountered numerous problems with errors and quality when accepting self-prepared or 3d party tax documents.

Please note that all fees must be paid in advance.

4. How long does it take to receive an ITIN? Can I expedite my application? What about tax filing deadlines?

The IRS generally takes 2-6 months before issuing an ITIN. There is no way to expedite an application and the IRS is generally unavailable for checking the status of an application. Tax filings like Form 1040/1040NR or FIRPTA applications are deemed filed on the date we submit the ITIN application. Applications are submitted via Certified Mail so that we have proof of filing.

5. What if I am a student who needs an ITIN or I am claiming a child dependent on my tax return?

Different procedures apply for these different groups. Most students will need to also supply a denial letter from the Social Security Administration showing that they are not eligible for a Social Security Number. For parents claiming a minor child, please contact us as identification documents and procedures are different from the ones for adults.

6. I am not located in Washington DC or the US, can you still process my application?

Yes. Most of our process is electronic and we have identity verification procedures in place to allow for remote processing.

7. If my ITIN is rejected, are my tax documents also rejected?

This depends on the documents submitted with Form W7 ITIN Application. US tax returns (1040/1040NR) are accepted and processed even if the ITIN is rejected, however, this may result in delays or disallowance of some claims. FIRPTA applications for an exemption certificate are usually rejcted along with the ITIN. Other documents may be accepted and processed without the ITIN, partially accepted and processed, or rejected.

8. Do you offer a refund if my ITIN is rejected?

No. Issuance of an ITIN is at the sole discretion of the IRS. While we make every effort to ensure that all applications are successful, we cannot control IRS decisions or procedures. We are able to re-apply as part of the service in some cases where rejection was the result of ALFI’s work. Where the rejection was because of self-prepared documents, 3d party or partner prepared documents, or general ineligibility, re-application may require additional fees.

9. What payment methods do you accept?

We can accept payment via credit card, wire transfer (ABA or SWIFT), check or e-Check (US banks only), and cash. For clients of our partner firms, we accept payment on behalf of the client from those firms.

10. Can I use an ITIN for employment in the US, to open a bank account, start a business,…?

An ITIN cannot be used for employment purposes. ITINs are not dependent on immigration status. An ITIN may be used to open a bank account, file state forms, and some other applications which require a tax ID number, however, this is dependent on the organization asking for the ID number and not the IRS.

11. I filed a US tax return and received an Internal Revenue Service Number (IRSN) for processing the return. Can I merge the IRSN with my ITIN?

Yes. This would be a service outside the scope of our basic ITIN service, but for clients of our firm, we are able to contact the IRS and have them merge IRSNs with ITINs.

12. I will obtain a Social Security Number at some point, can I merge my ITIN with Social Security?

Yes. This would be a service outside the scope of our basic ITIN service, but for clients of our firm, we are able to contact the IRS and have them merge Social Security Numbers with ITINs. This may be important for persons who want to record benefits with the Social Security Administration, or who will be filing future returns under their Social Security Numbers.

13. Do ITINs expire?

Yes. The IRS offers a FAQ on ITIN expiration here: