The IRS recently revised its policy allowing Certifying Acceptance Agents (CAAs) to certify copies of dependent children’s passport and birth certificate.
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
In order to obtain an ITIN, a taxpayer needs to submit original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency. This created hardships for individuals who were unable to obtain certified copies of these documents, because then they had to submit the original document, such as a passport, and go without this document for up to six weeks while the IRS processed the application.
CAAs can certify that they have reviewed and verified the original documentation or a certified copy from the issuing agency of those documents through face-to-face or video electronic interviews. CAAs must have the original identification documents in their possession during the interview, in order to see the security features and authenticate the documents. CAAs are required to submit copies of the documents that they reviewed along with the Form W-7
Until the IRS revised its policy CAAs could only certify copies of the taxpayer’s and spouse’s documents. In the case of dependent children, however, parents had to either obtain a certified copy of the document from the issuing agency or send in the original documents. Due to the complexity of the rules, many parents choose not to obtain an ITIN for dependent children and thus forego the additional dependency exemption.
Effective October 1, 2016, the IRS has revised its procedures to allow CAAs to authenticate dependent passports and birth certificates, making it easier to obtain ITINs for dependents.
This is a welcome step in the ITIN process. It never made sense to not allow CAAs to authenticate these documents while allowing CAAs to authenticate the parents’ documents. As a result, return processing should be easier as CAAs can now authenticate all family members’ documents at one time.