How Do I Know If My ITIN Number Is Expired?

Paying your taxes seems like something that should be easy – you owe some amount, you pay it, and you move on with your life – but doing so can prove to be quite complicated, especially if you’re an expat or foreign citizen with an obligation to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. One of the most basic things a taxpayer needs is a unique identification number; while citizens and residents can use their government-issued Social Security Number for this purpose, there are some taxpayers who don’t qualify for an SSN, in which case they’ll have to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN. In time, however, this number can expire, and will then have to be renewed. So, how do you know if your ITIN number is expired? To find out, keep reading as the international tax accountants at US Tax Help provide some answers.

Why You Might Need a Valid ITIN Number

Although you may think that living in another country exempts you from any U.S.-based tax responsibilities, anyone who earns money from a source in the U.S. or who is looking to invest in U.S. real estate as a foreigner will have to interact with the IRS, as well as those in a few other specific circumstances.

Understandably, the government will want to confirm the identity of the person filing taxes to ensure credit is given to the right taxpayer, which means issuing a unique identifying number. If you anticipate filing taxes with the U.S. or engaging in trade there sometime soon, consider applying for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number before the filing deadline to ensure the process goes smoothly; you can do this with IRS Form W-7, which is available online.

How to Tell If Your ITIN Has Expired or Will Expire

Whether you’ve just received your ITIN or have been using one for years, it’s important to keep in mind that it doesn’t last forever. Every year, the IRS marks a certain set of ITINs for expiration; whether yours is among them will depend on the fourth and fifth digits in your nine-digit number – the two in the middle, between the dashes. Luckily, the IRS publicly announces which ITINs are set to expire, so you can easily check and see if yours will still be valid come next year. In addition, they also send out a document called a CP-48 Notice to anyone whose ITIN will expire soon, so you should have plenty of advance notice.

Of course, papers get lost in the mail all the time, so there’s a chance you didn’t receive the notice that was sent your way. Below, we’ll look at each batch of ITIN expirations in the last few years; if yours is on the list, it has expired or, in the case of this year’s numbers, it will expire at the end of the year.

  • If your ITIN has the middle numbers 88, 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, or 99, it will expire on December 31, 2020.
  • If your ITIN has the middle numbers 83, 84, 85, 86, or 87, it expired last year and is no longer valid.
  • ITINs with the middle digits 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81, or 82 expired in 2018.
  • ITINs with the middle digits 70, 71, 72, or 80 expired in 2017.
  • ITINs with the middle numbers 78 or 79 expired in 2016.

Along with triggering the expiration of certain specific ITINs each year, the IRS also declares ITINs invalid in another circumstance. Anyone who has not used their ITIN on a federal tax form in the last three years should assume that their number is no longer valid, regardless of whether you see your number listed above, as they expire if left unused for that length of time.

What to Do About an Expired ITIN Number

If you know that your ITIN has expired or will expire this year and need it to file your taxes in 2021, you can file for a renewal of your number at any time using the same form required to get an ITIN in the first place – IRS Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. This process is typically easier than applying for an initial ITIN because you don’t have to attach a federal tax return to your application. However, you do need to include all the necessary documents to prove your identity and foreign status, such as a passport, photo ID, or birth certificate; a full list of the 13 acceptable documents can be found on the IRS website.

While anyone can apply to renew their ITIN, whether it’s currently valid or not, the IRS prefers that those whose number has not expired and is not expiring this year hold off on renewing unnecessarily, with one exception: If your ITIN is expiring but those of your immediate family – including your spouse and dependents – are not, you can still apply to renew the whole family’s ITINs at the same time. Otherwise, wait until the year when your ITIN is set to expire to file for a renewal.

Skilled International Tax Specialist Available for Anyone Whose ITIN Number Is Expired

Figuring out how to address a tax issue often requires some degree of expertise, since the U.S. tax code can be complicated in the extreme. Luckily, the accountants at US Tax Help have decades of experience solving these problems and helping clients avoid issues with the IRS. To learn more about all our services or to schedule your first consultation with a virtual accountant for U.S. tax filing, visit us online to learn more about taxes for US expats or call us at (541) 362-9127.