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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Gray CPA

Life hacks for mailing W-7 ITIN applications during covid

[CAUTION TO APPLICANTS: do not use any CAA who doesn’t require seeing your actual passport as that’s an IRS violation that disqualifies an ITIN application.]

IRS requires that the CAA agent mail the W-7 ITIN application to the IRS.

This differs from a mailed return that a preparer e-mails to a client along with mailing instructions, where the taxpayer client signs the returns, goes to post office and mails.

An effect of covid is that Canada Post brick and mortar stores no longer sell Xpresspost prepaid-to-USA envelops nor do they offer registered mail service to USA (registered = recipient must sign). They do offer mail express delivery with tracking but the W-7 packet must be given in at time of paying for such service, as their office is required to process it that same day and those mail items are physically kept separate from the rest of mail going into the red mailboxes (unlike Xpresspost prepaid-to-USA envelops).

If one mails a W-7 with regular postage and no tracking, no problem. When one isn’t aiming for speed and doesn’t need proof of mailing, tracking isn’t needed.

When one files a W-7 without a tax return, proof of mailing doesn’t help. If IRS can’t locate the W-7, it will ask for new one and proving one mailed it does not provide relief.

However, when one files a tax return with a W-7, proof of mailing is a good idea. Proving one mailed a 1040 does provide relief from late filing penalties. Also, someone looking to speed up delivery TO the IRS, would desire express delivery, which automatically comes packaged with tracking.

Before covid, everyone simply bought an empty $27 Canada Post Xpresspost prepaid-to-USA envelop and brought this to the CAA to later mail from a red mailbox but Canada Post discontinued it during covid.

That leaves only three mailing arrangement options for an applicant seeking express delivery with tracking:

1. Buy express delivery with tracking ONLINE from Canada Post and bring that prepaid envelop to the CAA. Use the below info to determine anticipated weight.

2. The CAA/CPA makes a trip to the Post Office (line) for every ITIN application

3. The applicant arranges prepaid Fedex or UPS with tracking pickup from the CAA

Each sheet of paper weighs 4.5 gram and the amount of sheets required per applicant are:

1. [1 page] Photocopy of passport picture and signature page(s)

2. [1 page] Form W-7 [1 page]

3. [1 page]Form W-7 COA attached by CAA

4. As applicable, one of the following:

a. Partnership agreement [can be double-sided]

b. Tax return [can be double-sided]

c. [1 page] ITIN letter such as from bank or rent payer

d. [2-30 pages] FIRPTA US property sale documents and forms [can be double-sided]

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