Taxpayers Must Renew Expiring ITINs to Avoid Tax Refund Delays by Pedro L. Porras, CPA

Posted on September 15, 2020 by Pedro Porras

Millions of U.S. taxpayers will soon receive notice from the IRS that their government-issued Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) will expire at the end of this year. Affected individuals who do not qualify for Social Security numbers but do have U.S. tax filing and payment obligations should take immediate action to renew the ITINs for themselves and their family members. Failure to do so by Dec. 31, 2020, can result in unnecessary delays to taxpayers’ refunds next year.

ITINs Expiring This Year

You are an affected taxpayer if your ITIN’s middle digits are 88 (i.e., 9XX-88-XXXX), or if you received an ITIN before 2013 with the middle digits are 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99. In addition, ITINs not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will also expire at the end of 2020.

IRS Notice CP48 explains the actions you need to take before December 31 to renew the ITINs you will use on your 2020 U.S. tax returns, which you will file in 2021. You have the option at this time to also renew ITINs of your spouse and any dependents you claim on your tax returns, even if those family members’ ITINs have not yet expired. This is especially important if your spouse or dependent intends to file an individual tax return or if they qualify for an allowable tax benefit (e.g., a dependent parent who qualifies the primary taxpayer to claim head of household filing status).

Renewing an ITIN

To renew an ITIN, you must complete IRS Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, and gather all required documentation to submit to the IRS before Dec. 31, 2020, using one of the following methods:

If you plan to file a tax return in 2020, the IRS reminds you that you must renew an ITIN with middle digits 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, or 87 that expired in 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019.

Common Errors to Avoid when Renewing ITINs
Taxpayers renewing their ITIN’s should be careful to avoid common errors that will delay the processing of their requests, including mailing identification documentation without a Form W-7, leaving items on Form W-7 blank, and failing to provide sufficient documentation, such as proof of U.S. residency and/or name changes that may result from marriage or divorce.

About the Author: Pedro L. Porras, CPA, is an associate director of Tax Services with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs, where he provides income and estate tax planning and consulting services to domestic and foreign high-net-worth families and closely held businesses with international operations. He can be reached at the CPA firm’s Miami office at (305) 379-7000 or at