WASHINGTON — Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers
(ITINs) will expire if not used on a federal income tax
return for five consecutive years, the Internal Revenue
Service announced today. To give all interested parties time
to adjust and allow the IRS to reprogram its systems, the
IRS will not begin deactivating ITINs until 2016.
The new, more uniform policy applies to any ITIN, regardless of when it was issued. Only about a quarter of the 21 million ITINs issued since the program began in 1996 are being used on tax returns. The new policy will ensure that anyone who legitimately uses an ITIN for tax purposes can continue to do so, while at the same time resulting in the likely eventual expiration of millions of unused ITINs.
Developed in consultation with taxpayers, their representatives and other stakeholders, the new policy replaces the existing one that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
Under the old policy, announced in November 2012, ITINs issued after Jan. 1, 2013 would have automatically expired after five years, even if used properly and regularly by taxpayers. Though ITINs issued before 2013 were unaffected by that change, the IRS said at the time that it would explore options for deactivating or refreshing the information relating to these older ITINs.
ITINs play a critical role in the tax administration system and assist with the collection of taxes from foreign nationals, resident and nonresident aliens and others who have filing or payment obligations under U.S. law. Designed specifically for tax administration purposes, ITINs are only issued to people who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number.
Under the new policy:
Further details, including information on how and when taxpayers with expired ITINs will be notified, will be posted on IRS.gov at a later date.