IRS Form W-7A Instructions

If you’re in the middle of adopting a child, but won’t have a Social Security number in time to file your tax return, you may apply for an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) by filing IRS Form W-7A with the Internal Revenue service.

In this article, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about IRS Form W-7A, including:

  • How to complete & file IRS Form W-7A
  • Crucial information about obtaining an ATIN
  • Answers to frequently asked questions

Let’s start with a breakdown of this IRS form.

How do I complete IRS Form W-7A?

This one-page form is fairly straightforward to complete. Let’s start at the top with Line 1.

Line 1: Adoptive parent(s) information

Enter your name and Social Security number (SSN) on Line 1a. If you and another person are adopting the child, enter the other person’s name and SSN on Line 1b.

Married couples filing a joint tax return

If you are married filing jointly, enter the names and SSNs in the order shown on your federal tax return.

IRS Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN)

If one or both of the adoptive parents doesn’t have an SSN, enter the ITIN assigned to that person by the IRS.

Name change

If you changed your name after you filed your last tax return because of marriage, divorce, or some other reason, be sure to report this to your local Social Security Administration office before filing your Form W-7A.

This will prevent delays in processing your ATIN request.

Line 2: Adoptive parent(s) address

Enter the address where you and the child live.

Enter your post office box number only if your post office doesn’t deliver mail to your home.

Address change.

If you changed your mailing address after you filed your last tax return, you should use IRS Form 8822 to notify the IRS of the change of address. A new address shown on Form W-7A will not update your record.

irs form w-7a, lines 1 through 3

Line 3: Child’s name

There are two parts to this.

Line 3a: Child’s name

Enter your child’s name as it will appear on your federal income tax return.

Line 3b: Birth name

If your child’s birth name is different from his or her current name, then enter the birth name here.

Line 4: Child’s birth information

Enter the child’s date of birth in MM/DD/YYYY format. For example, if your child was born on June 30, 2021, you would enter: 06/30/2021.

Enter the child’s sex as it appears on his or her birth certificate.

Finally, if known, enter the child’s place of birth. This should include the city or town, as well as the state.

Foreign address

For a child not born in the United States, enter the information in the following

  • City
  • Province or state
  • Country
    • Do not abbreviate the country name
irs form w-7a, lines 4-5

Line 5: Placement agency information

In Line 5, enter the name and address of the authorized placement agency that placed the child with you for legal adoption.

An authorized placement agency may include:

  • A private adoption agency
  • Government agency
  • Adoption attorney, or
  • Any other person authorized by state law to place a child for purposes of legal adoption

Additionally, enter the date that your adoptive child was placed with you.


IRS Form W-7A must be signed and dated by the adoptive parent(s) applying for the ATIN.

If you and another person are adopting this child, that person also must sign and date the application.

Filing IRS Form W-7A

In addition to completing the form itself, there are some aspects of IRS Form W-7A that you should be aware of.

Who must file IRS Form W-7A?

Taxpayers should file IRS Form W-7A if all of the following conditions apply:

  • You have a child living with you who was placed in your home for legal adoption by an authorized placement agency
  • You cannot obtain the child’s existing SSN even though you have made a reasonable attempt to obtain it from birth parents, the placement agency, or other persons
  • You cannot obtain an SSN for the child from the SSA because the adoption isn’t final
  • You are eligible to claim the child as a dependent on your tax return

If you have reason to believe that you will obtain your child’s Social Security number before the due date of your next tax return, do not file Form W-7A.

Do not file IRS Form W-7A if the child is not a U.S. citizen or resident alien. Instead, use Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

Use IRS Form W-7 to obtain a temporary taxpayer identification number for a child with foreign status.

How do I file IRS Form W-7A?

The Internal Revenue Service has specific instructions on how to file IRS Form W-7A, including supporting documentation and where to file.

What to include with IRS Form W-7A

When filing Form W-7a, adopting parents must attach signed and dated documentation to prove the child was placed with you for legal adoption (not for foster care) by an authorized placement agency.

As a general rule, one of the following documents will satisfy this requirement:

  • A copy of the placement agreement entered into between you and an authorized placement agency
  • A copy of the document signed by a hospital official that authorizes the release of a newborn child from the hospital to you for legal adoption
  • A copy of the court order or other court document ordering or approving the placement of the prospective adoptive child, or
  • An affidavit signed by the adoption attorney or government official who placed the child with you for legal adoption pursuant to state law
Foreign adoptions

For prospective adoptive parents, if you adopt a foreign child with U.S. citizenship or resident alien status, include with your Form W-7A a copy of your child’s:

  • Permanent resident card (green card)
  • Certificate of Citizenship, or
  • Passport with “I-551” stamp

If the adoption of the foreign child is final, but you are unable to get an SSN for your child, then contact the IRS to request an extension or reactivation of the adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN).

When you request the extension or reactivation of the ATIN, include the SSA’s denial letter or an explanation with your correspondence.

Where to send IRS Form W-7A

According to the IRS, you should send your signed Form W-7A and supporting documentation to the following address:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Stop 6182
Austin, TX 73301-0066

When to expect your ATIN

According to the IRS instructions, it should take about 4 to 8 weeks to receive an ATIN for federal tax purposes. You should account for this when submitting your application.

If you wish to claim certain tax credits, you may need to request a tax extension. To request an extension of time to file your tax return, file IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

Note: This is only an extension to file your tax return. You must pay any taxes that you owe by the the original tax filing deadline. Any outstanding tax debt after the original deadline will accrue penalties and interest until paid in full.

If you have already filed your federal return for the tax year in question, you may need to file an amended return to claim tax credits with your child’s ATIN.

What tax credits may I claim with an ATIN?

Taxpayers who have obtain an ATIN for their child may be able to claim the following tax benefits:

However, a child with an ATIN is not eligible for the earned income tax credit (EIC). To claim the EIC, the qualifying child must have a valid U.S. Social Security number.

Video walkthrough

Watch this informative video to learn more about obtaining an ATIN with IRS Form W-7A.

Frequently asked questions

What is an ATIN?

An ATIN is a temporary nine-digit number issued by the IRS for federal tax purposes. The IRS will issue an ATIN to individuals who are in the process of legally adopting a U.S. citizen or resident alien child but who can’t get an SSN for that child in time to file their tax return.

What is IRS Form W-7A?

Taxpayers may use Form W-7A to apply for an IRS adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN) for a child who is placed in your home for purposes of legal adoption. An ATIN is considered a temporary, valid identification number, for use during the adoption process only.

How long does the IRS take to process IRS Form W-7A?

Most taxpayers should expect the IRS to take between 4 and 8 weeks to issue an ATIN after receiving your completed application.

How long is an ATIN good for?

According to the IRS, an ATIN issued to you for your adoptive child will expire 2 years
from the date it is issued. You should receive a written notice from the IRS 3 months before the expiration date to remind you that the ATIN will expire.

Where can I find IRS Form W-7A?

You can find W-7 forms on the IRS website. For your convenience, we’ve attached the latest version of IRS Form W-7A right here, in our article.

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