Are you familiar with the IRS Acceptance Agent Program? Participating in this program may be a way to gain more clients and build your practice.
An Acceptance Agent is a person or 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 an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to process Form 1040 and other tax schedules. The Acceptance Agent facilitates the application process by reviewing the necessary documents and forwarding completed Form W-7, Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, to the IRS.
Acceptance agents are duly authorized by the IRS ITIN office to issue Certified Accuracy Certificates – documents that certify the agent has reviewed the supporting documentation to prove the ITIN applicant’s identity and foreign status, and to the best of their knowledge, the assurance that the documents are complete, authentic and accurate. With the agent’s acceptance, no original passport or certified copy of passports are required to be submitted to the IRS.
How to Become an Acceptance Agent
Step 1: Complete Form 13551, Application to Participate in the IRS Acceptance Agent Program, and attach the fingerprint card. If the authorized representative is an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent, but not an Electronic Return Originator (ERO), evidence of U.S. professional status may be submitted in lieu of the fingerprint card.
Step 2: Complete the mandatory Acceptance Agent training, then print, sign and submit the certification form. This is an 89-page pdf document that every applicant needs to read, sign and attach to Form 13551. (Note, the link for agent training is a downloadable PowerPoint file.)
Step 3: Attach the certification form for each authorized representative (person listed in block 5 of the application) to Form 13551.
Step 4: Complete forensic training and submit the certificate of completion to the IRS. Acceptance agents are required to complete formal forensic document training to obtain the necessary skills to determine the authenticity of the identification documents. Send Form 13551, along with your completed fingerprint card or evidence of professional status, if required, forensic documentation, and mandatory training certification to the IRS:
Internal Revenue Service
3651 S. IH 35
Stop 6380 AUSC
Austin, TX 78741
- All Acceptance Agents are required to submit at least five W-7 applications a year to remain in the program.
- Background checks and tax compliance checks will be conducted by the IRS after the application is received.
- The IRS will conduct compliance reviews, including both physical and correspondence reviews.
- All Acceptance Agents will be required to adhere to new quality standards established and monitored by the IRS.
Questions about the IRS Acceptance Agent Program can be directed to the ITIN Policy Section.
Editor’s note: This article is also available in Spanish.