Frequently Asked Questions – ITIN Applications
Why use a Certifying Acceptance Agent?
We have a contract with the IRS to assist with these applications, and they rely on us to certify that you are the person applying for the ITIN and that you are not a U.S. resident. We simply inform them that we have met with you, verified your identity and certified your foreign status in accordance with the procedures in place for Certifying Acceptance Agents.
If you do not use a Certifying Acceptance Agent, you have to submit original identification to the IRS, travel to the U.S. to see a U.S. notary, or travel to the nearest Consolate to have your identification verified and to prove that you are not a U.S. resident, and even then it is not guaranteed that you will have met the requirements.
We will walk you through the entire application process and assist you right through until you are assigned your ITIN. Our fee is a flat rate, regardless of the amount you are seeking to get back from the IRS. Also, you only need our services one time; your ITIN will not expire provided it is used with theIRS at least once every five years.
I have U.S. rental property. What supporting documentation do I need for my ITIN application?
A signed letter from the withholding agent (property manager, etc.), on their official letterhead, addressed to the IRS ITIN Operation (Austin Service Center, P.O. Box 149342, Austin, Texas, 78714–9342) stating the following:
“This is to certify that (full legal name) has an account with (Property Management Company’s name), with account number (account number) which will be generating income during the current tax year that is subject to IRS information reporting and/or federal tax withholding Federal income tax. The applicant, therefore, is requesting an ITIN to provide us for our reporting, withholding, and distribution procedures.”
What is a “Tax Treaty Benefit”?
Canada and the United States have a Tax Treaty in place between the two countries. The Tax Treaty allows Canadians to, in certain circumstances, pay reduced tax rates on income from U.S. sources, or may eliminate the need to pay U.S. tax at all. We can assist you with identifying the Tax Treaty Article Number required in the ITIN application form that applies to your circumstances.
How much does this ITIN service cost?
Our fee for assisting with your ITIN application as a Certifying Acceptance Agent is $300.00 plus G.S.T. and disbursements (such as postage and photocopying) per application if you are able to attend at our office. If you are unable to meet with us at our office we are still able to assist with your ITIN applications. Our fee for an application where you cannot attend at our office is $300.00 plus G.S.T. and disbursements.
Can your office assist with the preparation of my U.S. tax return?
No. We are not an accounting firm, we are a law firm. As such, we are not able to provide tax advice or prepare tax returns. If you would like a referral to a U.S. tax / accounting firm, please feel free to call and we would be happy to assist.
What is the difference between an ITIN and a Social Security Number (SSN)?
Some of the key differences between an ITIN and an SSN are:
- An ITIN is only an identification number for the IRS;
- The ITIN cannot be used to claim earned income tax credits;
- Having an ITIN does not change your immigration status or entitle you to legal employment in the U.S.; and
- The ITIN does not take the place of a Social Security Number (SSN) or qualify you for Social Security benefits.
Should I get an SSN or an ITIN?
You may be eligible for a SSN if you are physically present in the U.S. for 31 days during the current year, and 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that. You must inform our office if you think you may meet these requirements or if you think you may be eligible for a SSN for any reason.
You cannot have both an ITIN and a SSN. If you become eligible for a SSN after obtaining an ITIN, you are required to stop using the ITIN and apply for a SSN from the Social Security Administration.