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Instructions for Completing IRS Form W-7

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Follow these instructions to complete the IRS Form W-7 if you are a non-U.S. citizen who needs an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to get an IRS federal employer identification number (EIN) to open a U.S. bank account:

1.  Do not submit the W-7 form if you have, or are eligible to get, a U.S. social security number (SSN).

2.  Enter N/A (not applicable) on all lines that do not apply to you. Do not leave any lines blank.

3.  Reason for submitting the W-7:  Check box h other.  Insert the following text in the field to the right of the check box:

Exception 1. Third Party Withholding on Passive Income – interest income & Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding

4.  Line 1a. Enter your legal name on line 1a as it appears on your documents. This entry should reflect your name as it will appear on a U.S. tax return.  Your ITIN will be established using this name. If you do not use this name on the U.S. tax return, the processing of the U.S. tax return may be delayed.

5.  Line 1b. Enter your name as it appears on your birth certificate if it is different from your entry on line 1a.

6.  Line 2. Enter your complete mailing address on line 2. This is the address the IRS will use to return your original documents and send written notification of your ITIN.  Note.  If the U.S. Postal Service will not deliver mail to your physical location, enter the U.S. Postal Service’s post office box number for your mailing address. Contact your local U.S. Post Office for more information. Do not use a post office box owned and operated by a private firm or company.

7.  Line 3. Enter your complete foreign (non-U.S.) address in the country where you permanently or normally reside if it is different from the address on line 2. If you no longer have a permanent residence, due to your relocation to the United States, enter only the foreign country where you last resided on line 3. If you are claiming a benefit under an income tax treaty with the United States, line 3 must show the treaty country. Do not use a post office box or an “in care of” (c/o) address instead of a street address on line 2 if you are entering just a “country” name on line 3. If you do, your application will be rejected.

8.  Line 4. To be eligible for an ITIN, your birth country must be recognized as a foreign country by the U.S. Department of State.

9.  Line 6a. Enter the country or countries (in the case of dual citizenship) in which you are a citizen. Enter the complete country name; do not abbreviate.

10. Line 6b. If your country of residence for tax purposes has issued you a tax identification number, enter that number on line 6b. For example, if you are a resident of Canada, enter your Canadian Social Insurance Number.

11. Line 6c

[Enter n/a here unless you have a U.S. visa and intend to come to the U.S.] Enter only U.S. nonimmigrant visa information. Include the USCIS classification, number of the U.S. visa, and the expiration date in month/day/year format. For example, if you have an F-1/F-2 visa with the number 123456 that has an expiration date of December 31, 2012, enter “F-1/F-2,” “123456,” and “12/31/2012” in the entry space.  Note.  If the visa has been issued under a “duration of stay” label by USCIS, enter “D/S” as the expiration date.

12.  Line 6d. Check the box indicating the type of document(s) you are submitting to prove your foreign status and identity. You must submit documents as explained in Documents that Must be Submitted with the W-7 to Prove Identity.  Enter the name of the state or country or other issuer, the identification number (if any) appearing on the document(s), the expiration date, and the date on which you entered the United States. Dates must be entered in the month/day/year format. Also, you may later be required to provide a certified translation of foreign language documents.  Note.  Any visa information shown on a passport must be entered on line 6c.  The “Entry date in United States” must contain the complete date on which you entered the country (if applicable). If you have not entered the United States, enter “N/A” on this line.

Note:  Richard Keyt recommends that you use your passport to prove your identity.  If you are submitting a passport or a certified/notarized copy of a passport, no other documentation is required to prove your foreign status or identity.  However, if you are submitting more than one document, enter only the information for the first document on this line.  Attach a separate sheet showing the required information for the additional document(s).  On the separate sheet be sure to write your name and Form W-7 at the top.

13.  Line 6e. If you ever received a temporary taxpayer identification number (TIN) or an employer identification number (EIN), check the “Yes” box and complete line 6f. If you never had a temporary TIN or an EIN, or you do not know your temporary TIN, check the “No/Do not know” box.  A temporary TIN is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS to persons who file a return or make a payment without providing a TIN. You would have been issued this number if you filed a U.S. tax return and did not have a social security number. This temporary TIN will appear on any correspondence the IRS sent you concerning that return.  An EIN is a nine-digit number (for example, 12-3456789) assigned by the IRS to businesses, such as sole proprietorships.

14.  Line 6f. If you have both a temporary TIN and an EIN, attach a separate sheet listing both. If you were issued more than one temporary TIN, attach a separate sheet listing all the temporary TINs you received.

15.  Signature – Who Can Sign the Form W-7:  Generally, the applicant is required to sign Form W-7. The following are exceptions to this requirement.

a.  Applicant is a dependent under 18 years of age. If the applicant is a dependent under 18 years of age, his or her parent or court-appointed guardian can sign if the child cannot. The parent or court-appointed guardian must type or print his or her name in the space provided and check the appropriate box that indicates his or her relationship to the applicant. If the individual is signing as a court-appointed guardian, a copy of the court-appointment papers showing the legal guardianship must be attached.

b.  Adults, other than a parent or court-appointed guardian, can sign the Form W-7 only if the applicant has a Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, from a parent or court-appointed guardian that authorizes the individual to sign.

c.  Applicant is a dependent 18 years of age or older. If the applicant is 18 years of age or over, the applicant can sign or can appoint his or her parent, a court-appointed guardian, or another individual to sign. The person signing, if other than the applicant, must type or print his or her name in the space provided, check the appropriate box that indicates his or her relationship to the applicant, and attach a Form 2848.

Note.  All Powers of Attorney (POAs) submitted to the IRS must be in English. Any POAs received in a foreign language will be considered invalid unless accompanied by a certified English translation. The POA must clearly state the purpose for which it is intended under the “tax matters” section. For more information, go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov.

FYI:  The following is a list of common exceptions to the requirement that the W-7 Form be accompanied by an IRS tax return.  If any applies to you, you may indicate the exception number and description at the top of the form to the riht of where you checked the other box.

Exception 1. Third Party Withholding on Passive Income

IRS information reporting and/or tax withholding is required and apply to third parties (frequently banks and other financial institutions), who will request a TIN from you to enable them to comply with U.S. Treasury Regulations. To obtain an ITIN under this exception, you must include supporting documentation with your Form W-7/W-7(SP) showing that you own an asset that generates income subject to IRS information reporting and/or tax withholding requirements that will take place within the current tax year. A letter or signed statement from your bank or financial institution must be attached.

Exception 3. Thirty Party Reporting of Mortgage Interest

Under the Internal Revenue laws, most recipients (lenders) of home mortgage interest report the amount of interest they receive from the borrower to both the IRS and the borrower. This reporting is usually done on a Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement. First time filers who secure a home loan may seek an ITIN to provide to their lender.

Exception 4. Third Party With-holding – Disposition by a Foreign Person of United States Real Property Interest

A tax withholding obligation is generally imposed on a buyer or other transferee (withholding agent) when a United States real property interest is acquired from a foreign person. This withholding serves to collect the tax that may be owed by the foreign person. In some instances, the foreign person may apply for a withholding certificate to reduce or eliminate withholding on the disposition of the real property. An ITIN would be needed for this transaction.

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