International tax issues are complicated and the literature available for taxpayers is often conflicting. We stay apprised of tax treaties, the special issues and requirements for US citizens living abroad, and non-residents with US based income. Read and learn, but we are also available to chat on the phone, or email us with the Contact Us form at the bottom.
IRS rules limit temporary assignments to less than 12 months in a metropolitan area, consecutively or non-consecutively. Though you may have treaty protection, your temporary status for deductible living expenses may cease. To keep them tax-free you will need to go to another part of the country. The only exception to this rule is a situation where the hospital itself provides housing on their campus - not an offsite apartment.
An ITIN is not a Social Security Number, it is a tax ID and it is only issued when a tax return requires an ID. ITIN's can only be obtained by filing a W7 (Application for Taxpayer Identification Number) with a tax return. The return and ITIN application must be mailed with specific documentation of foreign status and identity. The request for an ITIN is processed by a specific IRS campus.
You will either: 1) have to mail ORIGINAL documentation OR 2) take your identifying documents to an IRS office that handles document certification. There is no flexibility in this requirement. It is best to get a copy of the spouse/dependents passport certified by a CONSULATE or EMBASSY of the country that issued the passport to avoid nasty waits and hassle.
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