New IRS Requirement Adds Complexity to Immigrants’ 2012 Tax Returns

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Tax Hurdle Directly Affects Millions Who Need ITINs for Filing Purposes, According to iCleapath's Michael Petrucelli.

A new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirement is causing concern among the approximately 1.5 million immigrants without Social Security numbers who will be filing taxes this year. Such immigrants are required by the IRS to instead enter an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) on their individual tax returns, and this year for the first time, the IRS is requiring ITIN Form W-7 applicants to submit original supporting documents (such as a passport, national identification card, and driver’s license) or certified copies of original documents prepared by the issuing agency.

“Although the ITIN is for federal tax purposes only, this new requirement has created unease among some immigrants who are concerned about crucial original documents getting lost or being out of their hands for an indeterminate period of time,” said Michael J. Petrucelli, former acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and current chairman and founder of iClearpath, a provider of online immigration solutions.

Petrucelli adds that, “The new requirement is also stoking fears that once immigrants submit their documents, they might be used by the government to review their immigrant status or track them for immigration enforcement reasons. In addition, many are concerned about not being able to travel domestically or internationally while their original documents are in the IRS’s possession.”

However, Petrucelli notes that there are a number ways that immigrants can apply for an ITIN under the new IRS regulations and still have peace of mind, including:

  •     Visiting a Taxpayer Assistance Center. These centers across the country can now verify passports and national ID cards for ITIN Application/Form W-7 in-person, as prospective applicants can contact the IRS to locate a local Taxpayer Assistance Center to learn what services each center provides. While a completed Form W-7 is still necessary to apply for an ITIN, the ability to apply in person and have documents verified on the spot is a great service for immigrant filers.
  •      Applying in-person for an ITIN form. The application gives immigrants the opportunity to get clarification from the IRS about the differences between ITINs and Social Security Numbers and their potential eligibility for one or the other. This additional benefit is something immigrants would not be able to receive if they were filing on their own via a mail submission.
  •     Filing 2012 taxes promptly. The sooner immigrants apply for their ITINs, the better.

Assistance with Form W-7 can also be obtained online from the IRS and through

About iClearpath:

iClearpath ( is revolutionizing the confusing, costly and paper-based immigration filing process, just as TurboTax transformed tax filing. More than 100 million immigration forms are filed each year in the U.S., with any one person filing multiple forms over a number of years as his or her status changes. iClearpath’s patented software was developed by former U.S. immigration agency leaders who understand how to navigate the government’s complex system. Our simple online solution offers all the most requested forms including citizenship, deferred action for childhood arrivals, H1-B visa, work authorization, and green card. Using plain language, iClearpath walks a user, step-by-step, through each form, checking data in real time for potential errors and compliance. iClearpath’s solution is easy, secure and affordable, costing roughly one-tenth of the fees charged by lawyers or notarios. The venture-backed technology company was founded in 2008.

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Scott Rosenblum
Trylon SMR
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