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IRS Resumes Processing of Applications for Acceptance Agents to Assist with ITINs

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Jan 31, 2024

GettyImages-924528004 W-7 W7 TPIN Taxpayer Identification Number

The IRS has lifted a moratorium on processing applications to become an acceptance agent, for the purpose of helping individuals who need to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), Accounting Today reported.

The IRS defines an acceptance agent as "a person or an entity (business or organization) who, pursuant to a written agreement with the IRS, is authorized to assist individuals and other foreign persons who do not qualify for a Social Security Number but who still need a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to process a Form 1040 and other tax schedules. The acceptance agent facilitates the application process by reviewing the necessary documents and forwarding completed Forms W-7 to IRS."

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins wrote in her Jan. 30 blog post that "[i]n August 2022, the IRS announced a moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications for prospective Acceptance Agents to give it time to update its systems." The agency lifted that moratorium on Jan. 19 of this year.

"Many individuals who require ITINs for themselves or members of the family find that working with an Acceptance Agent is simpler and quicker than submitting all documents directly to the IRS for verification," Collins wrote. "The resumption of Acceptance Agent applications means that there will be more Acceptance Agents to provide assistance to taxpayers and their dependents in obtaining an ITIN."

The IRS noted that the "Acceptance Agent application process has changed significantly and includes modernization efforts that transformed the prior paper application process to an electronic application process. This change results in greater efficiencies and reduces the processing time for properly submitted applications from 120 days to 60 days." The agency stated that applicants may refer to the Acceptance Agent FAQs for answers to commonly asked questions on the new application process.

In her annual report to Congress, Collins recommended that the IRS explore expanding the scope of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to allow the use of grant funds to provide ITIN certification services. She also noted that the “process for obtaining an ITIN burdens and confuses taxpayers,” making it difficult for taxpayers abroad to meet their U.S. tax obligations.

"In my view, the IRS should make it as simple as possible for individuals who require ITINs to comply with U.S. tax obligations to obtain them," she wrote in her Jan. 30 blog post.

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