Sunday, August 4, 2019

How to Easily Get a New or Renewed ITIN in Las Vegas

Need to renew your ITIN? Don't want to mail your passport? You can get your renewal processed at the IRS office in downtown Las Vegas - in one visit.

First of all, what's an ITIN and why do I need one?

An ITIN is an International Tax Identifier Number, issued by the United States IRS.

As an international visitor to Las Vegas (or any American casino), if you hit a jackpot over $1200, you might be subject to 30% of the dough being withheld for taxes.

If you are a citizen of the UK, congratulations, you have a tax treaty with the US and you won't have any tax held back - but you'll need an ITIN to prevent it.

If you are a citizen of Canada, you are actually subject to paying the tax. With an ITIN, though, there's a way around that.

When you win your huge jackpot, and they take their 30% skim, you must be certain that your ITIN appears on the 1040-S form that the casino will fill out and give you along with your (reduced) winnings.

When your year is done, if your gambling losses exceed your winnings, you can claim back the amount withheld by filing a tax return - a 1040NR, to be exact. But you have to have an ITIN to file.

That whole subject can get quite complex - I'm just going to deal with the ITIN renewal here.

How to get an ITIN

There are three ways to get an ITIN:

  • apply by mail, sending your precious passport to the Austin service center
  • visit a Certifying Accepting Agent and get it done in person
  • visit an IRS office that supports ITIN services

I'm not keen on sending my precious ID anywhere.

About the second option - the Certifying Accepting Agent. These are third-party agents that are certified to issue and renew ITINs. In fact, the larger casinos in Vegas used to provide this service right on site. I don't know if this is still the case.

There are Agents other countries (including Canada) that can do it - for a big-ass fee.

My understanding is that the Agent verifies your ID, and provides certified copies of same to the IRS along with the W7 form.

By far and away, the quickest and simplest way to get your ITIN in Vegas is to do it in person at the IRS office.

The Quad Queen's and my ITIN expired Jan 1, 2019. There just happens to be an IRS office within walking distance of Main Street Station (just the other side of the railroad tracks).

Main Street Station provides a convenient waiting room aka casino for you to pass the time in until your appointment is nigh. Then you simply exit MSS, hang a right at Main and Ogden, and walk under the underpass.

Walking from Main Street Station to the IRS office
But you have to make an appointment to do your renewal in advance. Here's how.