The IRS has issued new guidance regarding the issuance of international taxpayer identification numbers for non-U.S. taxpayers.
THE GOOD NEWS
1. Identification documents in most circumstances will not need to be mailed to the IRS with the Form W-7 application. Taxpayers may instead have them reviewed by a Certifying Acceptance Agent, by the IRS at key Taxpayer Assistance Centers, by certain U.S. Tax Attaches, and other alternative reviewers.
THE BAD NEWS
1. ITINs will now expire after 5 years.
2. The recent requirements for original identity documentation, or copies certified by the issuing agency (instead of accepting notarized copies of documents) are kept in place.
3. Certifying Acceptance Agents will have to take formal forensic training to help them identify legitimate identification documents.
Fact Sheet 2012-11, November 2012, IR 2012-98