Form 8946 (Rev. 10-2017)
Section references are to the Internal Revenue Code unless otherwise
For the latest information about developments related to Form 8946 and
its instructions, such as legislation enacted after they were published,
go to www.irs.gov/Form8946.
Submitting supporting identification documents online. You will be
prompted to submit supporting documentation online. Once you have
uploaded your identity proofing documentation, the IRS will review it
and make a determination.
Purpose of Form
Form 8946 is used by foreign persons without a social security number
(SSN) who want to prepare tax returns for compensation. Foreign
persons who are tax return preparers must obtain a preparer tax
identification number (PTIN) to prepare tax returns for compensation.
Generally, the IRS requires an individual to provide an SSN to get a
PTIN. Because foreign persons generally cannot get an SSN, they must
file Form 8946 to establish their identity and status as a foreign person.
You must have a PTIN to prepare a tax return for
SSNs. Do not complete Form 8946 if:
• You have an SSN,
• You are eligible to get an SSN,
• You are a U.S. citizen, or
• You have been admitted by the United States for permanent residence
or U.S. employment.
To get an SSN, see Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card.
To get Form SS-5 or to find out if you are eligible to get an SSN, go to
www.SSA.gov or contact a Social Security Administration (SSA) office.
If you have an application for an SSN pending, do not file Form 8946.
Complete Form 8946 only if the SSA notifies you that an SSN cannot be
If you already have an SSN, enter the SSN when you apply for your
PTIN using Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number
(PTIN) Application and Renewal.
Telephone help. If you have questions about completing this form, the
status of your application, or the return of your original documents
submitted with this form, you may call the following phone numbers. If
calling from the United States, call 1-877-613-PTIN (7846). For TTY/TDD
assistance, call 1-877-613-3686. If calling internationally, call
+1 915-342-5655 (not a toll-free number). Telephone help is generally
available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.
Who Must Apply
As part of applying for a PTIN, a foreign person must provide additional
information either online or by mail with the Form 8946 to establish their
identity and status as a foreign person. A foreign person is an individual
who does not have and is not eligible to obtain an SSN and is neither a
citizen of the United States nor a resident alien of the United States as
defined in section 7701(b)(1)(A).
For the purposes of receiving a PTIN, the United States includes any
state, territory, or possession of the United States, including a
commonwealth, or the District of Columbia.
Only preparers who have a foreign (non-U.S.) address may
file this form. If you do not have a foreign address, do not
file this form. See How To Apply, later, for more information
about submitting documents with this form.
How To Apply
Online. Go to webpage www.irs.gov/ptin for information. During the
PTIN application process, you will be prompted to complete and upload
acceptable supporting documents. See examples of acceptable
supporting documents listed in the table below.
Applying by mail. Complete both Form W-12 and Form 8946.
Send both forms and the supporting documents to the following
IRS Tax Professional PTIN Processing Center
1605 George Dieter PMB 678
El Paso, TX 79936
Allow 4 to 6 weeks for the IRS to process your application.
Submission of Form 8946. Submit the following.
1. Your completed Form 8946.
2. The original documents, certified copies, or notarized copies of
documents that verify the information provided on Form 8946. If
you are sending copies of documents, see the information below.
The supporting documentation must be consistent with the
information provided on Form 8946. For example, the name must
be the same as on Form 8946, line 1 (or in the case of a civil birth
certificate, line 3), and the date of birth must be the same as on
Form 8946, line 3.
To avoid any loss of your documents, it is suggested you do
not submit the original documentation.
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 seal from the issuing agency. All certifications must stay attached
to the copies of the documents when they’re sent to the IRS. Certified
documents have a stamp and/or an ink seal (may or may not be raised).
Any document certified by a foreign official must be issued by the
agency or official custodian of the original record. The foreign
certification must clearly certify that each document is a true copy of the
original. All certifications must stay attached to the copies of the
documents when they are sent to the IRS.
A notarized document is one that has been notarized by a U.S.
notary public, U.S. government military officer (JAG Officer), U.S. State
Department, U.S. Consul/Embassy Employee, or a foreign notary legally
authorized within his or her local jurisdiction to certify that each
document is a true copy of the original. To do this, the notary must see
the valid, unaltered, original documents and verify that the copies
conform to the original. All of the notarized copies must bear the mark
(stamp, signature, etc.) of the notary. Notarized documents may or may
not have a signature but will have a stamp and usually a raised seal.
Original documents you submit will be returned to you at
the mailing address shown on your Form 8946. You do not
need to provide a return envelope. If your original
documents are not returned within 60 days, you can call the
phone numbers provided earlier under Telephone help. Copies of
documents will not be returned.
If you submit an original valid passport (or a certified or notarized
copy of a valid passport), you do not need to submit any other
documents. Otherwise, you must submit two current documents that,
when the combined information on the documents is taken into account,
verify your identity and your status as a foreign person. At least one
document must contain your photograph. The documents must be
government issued. Examples of acceptable supporting documents are
listed in the following table. If you submit copies of documents that
display information on both sides, copies of both the front and back
must be attached to the Form 8946. Do not attach expired documents.