Why do I need to provide my passport for my casino tax recovery application? This is a question we are asked daily. This is perfectly normal. With all the stories of identity frauds multiplying in the country, the sharing of such a document raises several eyebrows. Here’s a full explanation of why this document is needed in the process of collecting withheld taxes from your lottery or casino winnings.
First, it is important to separate the ITIN application and the refund claim. If these two applications are actually filed jointly, it is only the part relating to the ITIN assignment that requires the passport. This is why we mention that the passport is only needed for your very first claim. Indeed, any winner who already has a valid ITIN will not need to provide a passport, or any other piece of identification for that matter.
The ITIN number is necessary so that the applicant « exists » in the eyes of the IRS. If any tax report is processed, only those with a valid ITIN can lead to the issuance of a refundé Take the example of Mr. Smith, who files a tax report and an ITIN application jointly, or who does so by completely omitting the ITIN application.
The IRS will process his application nevertheless if it is properly completed. A credit of the amount requested will then exist in the IRS system on behalf of Mr. Smith. However, no refund cheque will be issued. For this crucial step in the process, a valid ITIN is required. The IRS thus ensures that the taxpayer is indeed who he claims to be. Think about it. Without any validation of identity, anyone could ask for a refund on your behalf simply by attaching a 1042-S slip.
We therefore understand that the ITIN is essential in the process. Our turnkey service allows you to get this number in parallel with your refund claim. However, to do so, we must of course provide you with the appropriate documentation. This is where the passport comes in.
Why the passport and not another identification document?
This is a very relevant question. Let’s first look at the IRS’s supporting documentation grid:
We notice two things:
1. That your foreign status and your identity must both be confirmed by the IRS.
2. That several documents allow to do this, but that only the passport can be used for both (stand-alone document).
Several identification documents can thus make it possible to obtain an ITIN number. Let’s separate the needs of our firm and the specific needs of the IRS in this process to fully understand why the passport is highly recommended.
The needs of our firm
In order to be able to provide a complete file including the ITIN application to our clients, GamblingTaxes.ca only needs to receive the information of the document(s) that will ultimately be submitted to the IRS to complete this part of the W-7 form:
Nothing really restrictive so far. We also see that a driver’s license is an option. Since we only need to be able to fill this section for you, that’s why we only ask for a photo, fax or scan of the document that will be used. Alternatively, the customer can also simply write us this information. Our goal is only to correctly fill this section with the necessary information.
The needs of the IRS
Here is where things get more complicated and where the use of the passport makes sense. Here are the requirements of the IRS as written on the official W-7 instructions:
The second point makes it clear that « You must submit original documents, or certified copies of these documents from the issuing agency, that support the information provided on Form W-7. A certified document is one that the original issuing agency provides and certifies as an exact copy of the original document and contains an official stamped seal from the agency. You may be able to request a certified copy of documents at an embassy or consulate. However, services may vary between countries, so it’s recommended that you contact the appropriate consulate or embassy for specific information. »
Let’s immediately dismiss the idea of sending original documents for 60 to 90 days to the IRS. Nobody would agree to give up his passport or driver’s license for such a long time! There remains only the second option, sending certified copies.
Now that we understand the need to provide certified true copies of the documents used to the IRS to get an ITIN, let’s look at the available methods to get there:
Obtain a certified copy directly from the main issuer of the document
We understand from these instructions that the client has the opportunity to request a certified true copy of the document (s) used to the main issuer of these same documents. This means that notarized copies or copies from a commissioner for oaths will be refused by the IRS.
For the passport, it’s simple. All you need to do is go to a Passport Canada office and request such a copy. The agency will keep your passport for about ten days and then send you your original document and the requested copies by registered mail, directly to your home, for a fee of $ 45. For more details, see this text on how to apply for a certified true copy of passport. It is also possible to request such a copy from a Canadian Embassy in the United States. This process can be done entirely by mail.
Where would you get a certified copy of your driver’s license, however? It’s impossible. Of your birth certificate then? This is not an option, as you would rather need to provide the original document. The same is true of other options suggested by the IRS.
In short, if you want to provide a certified copy obtained from the issuer, only the passport really represents an option.
Obtain a certified copy through our Certifying Acceptance Agent services
Our firm’s employees have all been accredited as IRS Certifying Acceptance Agents, which means we have the authority to do the same certification work as Passport Canada does. You will find our firm (8207402 Canada Inc.) on the official list of accredited acceptance agents on the IRS website.
This means that we can offer our customers two additional options for the certification of their identity documents. As is the case with Passport Canada, you will understand that it is necessary for us to have the original document in order to certify it as authentic. It is impossible to authenticate a copy of a document. So you therefore also:
2) Make an appointment with us, in Gatineau or St-Hyacinthe, and simply bring your passport. (Without any additional cost to the recovery procedure).
3) You can send us, by registered email, your original passport to our offices. We will return it the same day of reception by registered mail. (Free, except for postal charges). You will leave your passport for a period of 2 to 4 working days. We give top priority to returning the document to you the day it is received at our offices.
Why use the passport in these circumstances? Simply because the other options are particularly restrictive. You will notice that for a Canadian, if you do not want to use the passport, you must either use two national ID documents with photo and contact information, or a national ID and your birth certificate.
If you use our certification services and you want to send us these original pieces of ID by mail, the problem quickly becomes apparent. It still goes for the birth certificate, but what national IDs can we really live without for a few days? The health insurance card? Obviously not. A driver’s license? Not a good option either.
In short, if it’s obviously not fun to go without our passport for a few business days, this is the only real option for the vast majority of clients.
Finally, let us emphasize that this requirement is entirely caused by the IRS. Our firm is only complying with the requirements of the American tax system by offering you the maximum number of possible options. These certified documents are however solely used by the IRS, not our firm.
The passport, a sensitive document?
A few words to conclude on the passport and its nature. Is this document really sensitive regarding identity theft?
Not as much as one would initially think. In fact, there is no confidential information on the passport, as it would be the case with a social insurance number for instance. It is therefore safe to provide a photo or scan of this document.
All the sensitivity of the passport is based on the original document itself and all the security features that the document contains. In short, it is not the information on the passport that you must protect at all costs, but the original document in itself.
That’s why we strongly suggest that you apply for a certified copy true of passport at Passport Canada, or that you visit us in person with the document. Nevertheless, if you decide to send it to us, the use of registered mail with tracking and warranty or any other courier service is strongly suggested. To this end, the legitimacy of our firm can be verified with our Federal Certificate of Incorporation, with the confirmation of our enrollment in the IRS Certifying Acceptance Agent Program, with the registration of all members of our team as tax preparers registered on this official IRS list with our respective certifications, then finally via the exceptional satisfaction rate and comments left by our former clients.