PDA

View Full Version : WTF? ITIN issues...



areteus
10-01-2011, 02:16 PM
Not sure if this is the right place to put this. Feel free to move it if needed... I couldn't find my original thread on this topic.

I got a reply back from the IRS in Texas over my ITIN application. They've rejected it on the grounds that I did not provide valid supporting documents to prove residency. They say I need to provide a valid, unexpired passport or a notarised copy.

Except that I *did* provide a valid, unexpired passport. I sent it with the W7 form to the US embassy in London. A few days later they sent it back to me. I checked, it is a valid passport (I double checked the date just now - July 2013).

So, what the hell has happened here? From the looks of it, the US office in London has not sent the copy they made on to the office in Texas with my application. Or they failed to notarise it or something.

I plan to ring them on Monday to see what the hell is going on but I wondered if there was any advice from people here about what could be done to speed this up without needing to go through the whole process again (and risk the same error happening again from their end).

alleycat
10-01-2011, 02:22 PM
I don't have an experience with this particular situation, but I've often found that when dealing with a government agency you will probably experience one of two things: 1) When you call them up Monday you will talk to someone helpful and friendly who will take care of the problem or suggest a reasonably easy solution, or, 2) When you call them up Monday you will talk to someone who seems to have an IQ of 40 and will insist that you have to go through the whole process again and there is nothing they can do about it otherwise.

Good luck with it.

backslashbaby
10-01-2011, 02:27 PM
Just as a general suggestion when dealing with our bureaucracy: send copies of all of your documentation to Texas, preferably with the exact address and phone number of the embassy people included.

Also, send a copy of your letter from the IRS in Tx to the embassy, with another copy of all of your documentation.

Calling one or both is certainly helpful, too. I usually send the documentation then call about 2 weeks later. I don't always trust that a phone call alone does much, but YMMV.

scarletpeaches
10-01-2011, 02:30 PM
A British writer applying for an ITIN doesn't have anything to do with the offices in Texas; we send our paperwork to London and that's it.

areteus
10-01-2011, 02:43 PM
Not quite true... we send our paperwork to London and they are supposed to forward it on to Texas (making sure to photocopy and notarise any documentation) who then process the actual application. But they can only go on what the Embassy send them which is why I think someone there forgot to do something...

I think my first step may be to call London, query the lack of documentation and see if they can send off a new application to Texas without me needing to resend the passport (there is always a chance they still have copies in their files of all the paperwork I sent them).

scarletpeaches
10-01-2011, 02:45 PM
Not quite true... we send our paperwork to London and they are supposed to forward it on to Texas...Um...that's what I said. We don't have any contact with the offices in Texas. Writing to the people there would be pretty much pointless if London didn't forward the correct paperwork.

seun
10-01-2011, 04:17 PM
I've got all this to look forward to over the next few weeks. Can't wait...

areteus
10-01-2011, 04:24 PM
However, the rejection came from Texas and the contact details I have been given to query this are all US ones. So, technically I am supposed to ring the number they give me which is a US one (and I may have to do that anyway...) but I am taking the cheaper option of ringing London first to avoid large amounts of money being spent on phone calls (and having to call late at night...). They may say to me that I have to call Texas or write to Texas or do the whole thing again.

scarletpeaches
10-01-2011, 04:32 PM
It sounds to me like you'll have to do the whole thing again. If the Texas people haven't seen your passport (or a notarised copy of it, or a photocopy from London), then they can't issue your ITIN. Someone's fucked up, yes, and it wasn't your fault, but Texas still hasn't received the paperwork they needed.

And seun -- try not to worry about it. My application went smoothly. It took roughly three months for the ITIN to come through, but it arrived in the end. Within a fortnight I received my passport back, after which it was just a matter of waiting for the letter from Texas.

areteus
10-01-2011, 06:01 PM
Oh, it is likely that is the case. However, before I do that I do want to trace the cause and establish exactly where the fault lies because:

a) I don't want this to go through the same process and have the exact same thing happen. I'd rather make them aware of a potential hole in thier process which they may feel the need to plug before I put my application in again.

b) There is a chance that London will say 'Oh, that's odd' and do an investigation, find my notarised copy hidden behind a bookshelf somewhere (or have a spare copy they keep for just such an eventuality) and then call me to say 'Not to worry, we've sent the copy along for you along with a copy of your form which we kept for just this eventuality'.

c) I have a great urge at the moment to ensure that it is made clear, in writing (or at least on a recorded phone call) that this was nothing to do with me and that the mistake was quite clearly in the hands of someone else along the chain. Since I have evidence of my passport being sent, of it arriving and being signed for in London and of it being sent back to me from London (with all the required dates and tracking numbers involved) I want it to be known (regardless of where the blame lies) that I was not the sort of idiot to not put my passport in the envelope :)

I may have to go on a spree of some form in London. If anyone asks, I was here all along, OK?

scarletpeaches
10-01-2011, 06:07 PM
I'd likely do the same thing -- send a letter to at the very least register my displeasure. Nothing might come of it. You might not get your ITIN any quicker, but at least you'll have had your say.

firedrake
10-01-2011, 06:09 PM
Word from the wise. When it comes to dealing with the IRS, always follow their instructions to the letter. In the US they have Notaries to give legal credence to a copied document. When I've send 'notarised' documents from the UK, I've had to have a solicitor stamp them before sending them off.

There is no room for bargaining, arguing or flexibility when dealing with a bureaucracy like the IRS.



Phoning the US Embassy usually costs money.

scarletpeaches
10-01-2011, 06:16 PM
In this instance though, UK residents don't deal directly with the IRS so it's pointless talking about how incompetent they are. It looks as if here, the Embassy in London fucked up. If that's the case, it proves British red tape is equally shitty.

areteus
10-01-2011, 07:28 PM
Well, from long experience:

1) UK bureaucracy *IS* shitty. I thought we all knew that :) Having friends who are 'in the know' in various ways due to their careers I have had this confirmed independently from several sources :)

2) I suspect the IRS office in the embassy is staffed mainly by US resident UK living IRS employees rather than being British bureaucracy but the point still remains - either way there is a paperwork issue :)

To clarify things. I do not intend to not follow any instructions to the letter. I do not blame the US based IRS office in the slightest for this because I am sure it is not thier fault. I don't even consider it likely that the person I ring in London is in any culpable and will not be making any accusations of blame. My call on Monday will be nothing more than a 'I have had this letter, <quote reference numbers> and am confused as to why my passport was not accepted as evidence of citizenship. Could you please investigate and find out what my next step is likely to be?'

And yes, the documents did need to be notarised. This was why I had to send my physical passport to the embassy where (so I was told) they would photocopy and notarise it before sending the whole package onto Texas for the next stage... It's the option you choose if you don't want to pay for a notary (very expensive and rare in the UK - I searched, there are not many out there the US government would accept. It was a shame that my friend who used to work for a solicitors did not get his US notaries license before losing his job but never mind :) ) or take the passport to the embassy in person.

I suspect that an unpaid, overworked intern put the wrong copy of the document in the packet that was going to Texas or it was not properly notarised by them or they forgot to put it in at all or, maybe, they found out that my family has, in the past, been accessory to regicide* and consider it too much of a criminal record :)

*True story... in that any Norman who was present at the Battle of Hastings was probably accessory to regicide if not the actual regicide themselves. They also have a tax evasion record from a later period and there is evidence that one of them was involved in revaling to Henry VIII that one of his wives (can't remember which one, it is mentioned in David Starkey's Wives of Henry VIII) was cheating on him thereby dooming her to death...

Kathleen42
10-01-2011, 10:04 PM
Word from the wise. When it comes to dealing with the IRS, always follow their instructions to the letter. In the US they have Notaries to give legal credence to a copied document. When I've send 'notarised' documents from the UK, I've had to have a solicitor stamp them before sending them off.

There is no room for bargaining, arguing or flexibility when dealing with a bureaucracy like the IRS.



Phoning the US Embassy usually costs money.

Just as a note (for anyone else who wanders in), with the ITIN they are (at least in some countries) very specific about where you can have copies notarized if you are outside the US. I actually ended up driving to the US because it was closer than any of the places in Canada that could do it.

scarletpeaches
10-01-2011, 10:07 PM
I did it all by post. One of the accounts staff at one of my publishers suggested I go to London to deal with it all.

Because yes, Scotland is right next door and I can nip down and have it done in my lunch hour. :rolleyes:

mirandashell
10-01-2011, 11:46 PM
This always riles. Bad admin screws up so many things for so many people. It destroys more business and reputations than anything else.

Yet..... most companies treat their admin like the bottom of the pile.

Makes no sense to me.

areteus
10-02-2011, 02:42 AM
I did it all by post. One of the accounts staff at one of my publishers suggested I go to London to deal with it all.

Because yes, Scotland is right next door and I can nip down and have it done in my lunch hour. :rolleyes:

Of course you can!!!! It takes all of 10 minutes to walk to London from Scotland. I would have done it myself but I am too lazy to walk 300 miles in less than 10 minutes :)

areteus
10-02-2011, 02:45 AM
This always riles. Bad admin screws up some many things for so many people. It destroys more business and reputations than anything else.

Yet..... most companies treat their admin like the bottom of the pile.

Makes no sense to me.

Yep. And process improvement... My wife deals with IT industry service standards and it is sometimes fun to watch her deal with people on the phone as she questions them on the reason why their processes are so inefficient and how if they did not want to lose the registration they claimed to have on their adverts they would have to hurry up and actually change those processes... (she helped write some of the industry standards...)

Governments are the worst for it, especially local government.

Still, hopefully I will know more on Monday.

seun
10-02-2011, 03:08 PM
I did it all by post. One of the accounts staff at one of my publishers suggested I go to London to deal with it all.

Because yes, Scotland is right next door and I can nip down and have it done in my lunch hour. :rolleyes:

But...but...Scotland is in England, isn't it?

Alan Yee
10-02-2011, 10:33 PM
But...but...Scotland is in England, isn't it?

You're just trying to make Scarlet explode, aren't you? Not very nice.

scarletpeaches
10-02-2011, 10:35 PM
I'll just mock him for being a bald git. Fair's fair.

If he pushes me too far, I'll just tell everyone he's Dan Brown's boyfriend.

areteus
10-02-2011, 11:28 PM
Isn't the USA part of Canada? :)

BTW, for those who deleted posts earlier for being too silly, there was no need. The question has been answered, silliness is already happening... :)

areteus
10-04-2011, 03:41 PM
Hmmm, back into serious country now...

It appears as if you cannot ring the IRS in London or contact them in any other way...

They have a phone number which leads you to a load of options which all list information already on the website or a message which says they are busy (and you can't wait on the line until someone is free because 'the calls may involve long conversations'). I've been trying this number all morning and now the lines are closed...

Or you can call a number in Philidelphia which I bet will cost a lot more money and not necessarily be able to answer my question because I want to talk to someone in that office not thousands of miles away...

They also have an e-mail link on thier site which opens up an outlook window with no e-mail address in it.

So, it is either write to them or go in person...

I may just have to give up and send the new application in. And they'll probably mess than one up too...

Count this as another rant about how call logging systems seem to be used to prevent customer service in organisations rather (as they were intended) assist it these days...

areteus
10-06-2011, 03:56 PM
Ok, an update and the mystery is solved!

I rang the IRS in London this morning (actually got through this time, I think choosing to ring on one of the days they are open until 4 rather than 12 was a good idea...) and asked for an explanation as to why my passport was not appropriate.

Guy went away and checked the file, came back and told me that it was nothing to do with my passport (I think the standard rejection letter just mentions that because it is a common cause of failure and like all bureaucracies they get sick of saying the same things over and over again). Apparently it was the letter from my publisher. According to the very helpful guy in the IRS, some of the assessors in Texas are very pernickerty about the wording of this letter and what needs to be said in it and so will reject an application on the basis of a letter that is not worded exactly as they think it should be.

So, mystery solved! Publisher prodded and asked to produce another letter, this time covering all the points on section 1d. New application will be sent in next week.

Alan Yee
10-06-2011, 08:04 PM
Wow! Someone at the IRS who is actually helpful! :rolleyes:

(Not that I would know, considering my income so far this year has consisted of $5.00--for a short non-fiction piece for an online poetry magazine. Hurray for being a college student who's too busy to work! And for being spoiled by my Chinese grandmother with lucky money while also being fairly frugal with my own personal purchases. The income listed above doesn't consist of all the under-the-table money I've gotten in the past year.)