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Published:   |   Last Updated: February 9, 2024

IRS Resumes Processing “Acceptance Agent” Applications to Assist with ITINs

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Earlier this month, the IRS posted information on IRS.gov that will come as welcome news to persons seeking to become “Acceptance Agents” for purposes of assisting individuals who need to obtain an Individual Taxpayer identification Number (ITIN) to file a tax return or be claimed as a dependent on a tax return. This development will also benefit individuals who wish to use an “Acceptance Agent.” The IRS did not issue a press release to publicize the development, so I want to take this opportunity to highlight it.

Individuals who need an identification number for tax purposes but who do not have, and are not eligible for, a Social Security number, may apply for a nine-digit number from the IRS known as an ITIN. To facilitate the process, the IRS authorizes certain persons to serve as “Acceptance Agents” who may assist alien individuals and other foreign persons in obtaining an ITIN from the IRS, in part by verifying the accuracy of their identification documents. In August 2022, the IRS announced a moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications for prospective Acceptance Agents to give it time to update its systems.

On January 19, 2024, the IRS posted an update on IRS.gov announcing that it has lifted the moratorium and has resumed accepting new ITIN Acceptance Agent applications. The Acceptance Agent application process has changed significantly and includes modernization efforts that transform the prior paper application process to an electronic application process. New Acceptance Agents will be able to assist taxpayers who need new or renewed ITINs to timely file their tax year 2023 returns during the current tax return filing season. Information for prospective Acceptance Agents, including application, registration, training requirements, and links for accessing the online application portal, is available at: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/itin-acceptance-agent-program-changes.

Many individuals who require ITINs for themselves or members of the family find that working with an Acceptance Agent is simpler and quicker than submitting all documents directly to the IRS for verification. The resumption of Acceptance Agent applications means that there will be more Acceptance Agents to provide assistance to taxpayers and their dependents in obtaining an ITIN.

To further make ITINs accessible to those who need them and provide assistance without cost to the individual, I recommended in my recent annual report to Congress that the IRS explore expanding the scope of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to allow grant funds to be used to provide ITIN certification services. In my view, the IRS should make it as simple as possible for individuals who require ITINs to comply with U.S. tax obligations to obtain them.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the National Taxpayer Advocate. The National Taxpayer Advocate presents an independent taxpayer perspective that does not necessarily reflect the position of the IRS, the Treasury Department, or the Office of Management and Budget.

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