IRS Form W-7 Instructions

By Robyn Lynne Schechter
tax form image by Kirill Zdorov from Fotolia.com

A W-7 Form is an application for an individual taxpayer identification number from the federal government. An ITIN is a nondigit number, similar to a Social Security number, that enables the Internal Revenue Service to identify individuals for federal tax-paying purposes. A W-7 Form should only be completed and submitted by a person who does not already have, and is ineligible to receive, a Social Security number, but who is required to pay federal taxes.

Indicate your eligibility for filing a W-7 application for an ITIN. If you have a Social Security number, you are ineligible to file a W-7 Form. However, if you are a nonresident alien or a dependent of a U.S. citizen/resident alien, you may submit an application. In the first section of the W-7 form, you must select which category establishes your eligibility to submit the application.

Complete the biographical sections of the W-7 Form. Provide your full name as well as your mailing address. If you have a foreign address, you must indicate it. Include your birthdate, city and country of birth. State the countries in which you have citizenship and include any relevant foreign tax identification numbers. If your birth country is not recognized as a foreign country by the U.S. Department of State, your application will be denied and you will not be assigned an ITIN. If you have been granted a U.S. visa, provide the visa number and the date the visa expires.

Check the appropriate box indicating which documents you are submitting to verify your identity and your foreign status. Acceptable supporting documentation includes a passport, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services photo identification or a driver's license issued by any jurisdiction in the United States. Other forms of supporting documentation are listed in the IRS' Instructions for Form W-7. Where possible, and in order to avoid loss, send copies and not originals of your supporting documentation.

Sign, date and mail your completed W-7 Form along with your supporting documentation and tax return to:

The IRS, ITIN Operation P.O. Box 149342 Austin, TX 78714-9342

Alternatively, you may bring the W-7 Form and tax return to any IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. It typically takes the IRS six weeks to assign and inform you of your ITIN. During tax season (Jan. 15-April 15) assignment of an ITIN may be delayed.

About the Author

Robyn Lynne Schechter is a freelance writer currently living in Los Angeles, Calif. She has been an online contributor since 2007 on brandchannel.com, covering branding developments in the fashion, music, sports and entertainment industries. Schechter graduated from Hood College with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and is also a graduate of Albany Law School.