Some Individual TINs Expire Jan 1, 2017

With limited exceptions, foreign nationals are issued Social Security number (SSN) only if they are authorized to work in the United States. Therefore, many who lack work authorization obtain individual tax identification numbers (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as an alternative. As explained by the IRS, the ITIN is designed to “…provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for [SSNs].” While SSNs do not expire, some people who have ITINs may need to renew their numbers before January 1, 2017.

How Do I Know if my ITIN is Expiring?

All ITINs are nine-digit numbers that begin with the number ‘9’ and utilize a format that parallels that of an SSN. That is, 9XX-YY-ZZZZ. All ITINs issued prior to 2013 will expire this year, beginning with those that have either ’78’ or ’79’ as the middle two-digit number (identified as YY in the above example). Further, any ITIN not used at least once in the past three years on a federal tax return will expire on January 1, 2017. These ITINs must be renewed in order to be used for purposes of filing U.S. tax returns.

Renew ITIN Only if Needed

If one’s ITIN is expiring, it is important to first determine whether it is still needed. Individuals who have SSNs or who are eligible for SSNs should not renew their ITINs. The IRS should be notified so that the financial records can be merged. The IRS has created ITIN expiration FAQs, which include information on how to notify the IRS about merging one’s tax records.

Renewals may be Requested Starting October 2016

Individuals who need to renew their ITINs may do so starting October 1, 2016. It is best not to wait until the last minute, particularly if the ITIN will be needed for filing a tax return in 2017. The address and instructions for the renewal filing are available on the IRS WebSite. It is expected that the updated ITIN form W-7, which is needed for renewals, will be available before the end of September 2016.


Those with ITINs should carefully review the renewal requirements and, if needed, take appropriate action. If the renewed ITIN is needed for a tax filing in 2017, failure to have that number will delay processing the tax return and lead to potential complications.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.