Tips for taxes
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Tax season is here, and the Yokota Tax Center has some helpful tips to help make life a little easier as people prepare their taxes.
Before you can file your taxes you must have an Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Identification Number. The IRS Taxpayer Identification Number is a nine digit number that a taxpayer must use for filing purposes. A valid IRS ID number can be a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). A SSN or ITIN is required to file taxes, to be claimed as a dependent, or to be claimed for exemption purposes. Those who had children this year should apply for your child's SSN or ITIN now.
Some Notes about Your SSN
Most military members have a SSN. However, if a military member has recently changed his/her legal name because of marriage, divorce or any other legal reason, the military member must notify the Social Security Administration of the name change as soon as possible. The U.S. Embassy's American Citizen Services Department has the necessary forms and will do the screening to process the legal name change with the Social Security Administration. A certified copy of the court papers ordering the name change and a passport are required.
Additionally, (1) U.S. citizens, (2) newborn children born to U.S. citizens, (3) U.S. resident aliens with permission from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to work in the U.S., and (4) aliens with U.S. Green Cards will need a SSN. People who fall into these categories and who do not have a SSN must also contact the U.S. Embassy's American Citizen Services Department to apply for a SSN. You will need your passport, and an original or certified copy of your birth certificate. If you were born in Korea and do not have a birth certificate, you will need a copy of the Family Census Register. Please keep in mind that it may take six to seven months to process a SSN application. For more information contact the U.S. Embassy.
Who Needs an ITIN and How to Get One
Non-resident aliens who do not have and cannot obtain a SSN must apply for an ITIN using IRS Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. In past years, non-resident aliens were not required to have an ITIN to file taxes or to be claimed as a dependent, now it is mandatory.
Complete Form W-7 at least 5-6 weeks before you need an ITIN. Copies of IRS Form W-7 can be acquired by downloading the form from the Internet using the IRS website: http://www.irs.ustreas.gov or by stopping by the U.S. Embassy or the Yokota Base Legal Office.
Sign and date the form, and make sure to provide all information requested. Include with the application original or certified copies or true copies of identity documents. Examples of identity documents are original passports and national identity cards. Any original documents sent to the IRS will be returned. Moreover, affidavit of true copies can be made at the Yokota Base Legal Office. To ensure delivery of your application and identity documents, mail them certified return receipt to the IRS at:
Internal Revenue Service
U.S. Embassy, Tokyo
Unit 45004, Box 208
APO AP 96337
Internal Revenue Service
Philadelphia Service Center
P.O. Box 447
Bensalem, PA 19020 USA
It is critical that all service members and their dependents have their SSN or ITIN ready so that tax filing will run smoothly. Also, remember when filing taxes, everyone must correctly write or type their SSN or ITIN on all tax forms. Any mistakes will cause unnecessary processing delays.
If you are married and you will file on behalf of your family you will need your spouse to complete an IRS Form 2848. The Form 2848 must contain your spouse's original signature but does not need to be notarized. This form can also be obtained from the IRS website.
If you have any questions, please contact Capt. Arzoo Rajani or Staff Sgt. Tiffanie Vorkapich at the Base Legal Office at 784-4131.