What Is an EIN for an LLC?

An EIN for an LLC is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for businesses. It stands for Employer Identification Number. Sometimes it is called a Tax ID Number or a Federal Employer Identification Number. An EIN also has nine digits, like social security numbers, but they only have one dash after the first two digits. This is used to differentiate an EIN from a social security number. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all LLCs require an EIN?
Most businesses, regardless of their structure, need an EIN. LLCs must have an EIN if it has employees or is required to pay special taxes, such as an excise tax. If the business hires employees, it needs an EIN to report employee wages to the IRS. However, there are other uses for EIN numbers:

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Open a business checking account

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Open a business credit card

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Apply for relevant business permits

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Create business credit history

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File business taxes

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Work with wholesale accounts

Do sole proprietors need an EIN?
Some single member LLCs opt to file their taxes as sole proprietors. While the IRS does not require that these sole proprietorships use an EIN unless they have employees, the other benefits of having an EIN still apply to sole proprietors. For federal tax purposes, sole proprietors are allowed to use their social security number. 

What does the “responsible party” mean?
For EIN numbers, the “responsible party” is someone who is authorized to act on behalf of the company. They need to have authority to secure an EIN. Ideally, this person manages the LLC's money.

Are there different methods for registering for an EIN?
Yes. You can apply for a new EIN number on the phone, online, via fax, and through the mail. 

How long does it take to be assigned an EIN?
It can take up to two weeks. 

When should I file for an EIN?
You should apply for an EIN number before you need it. You can apply once your LLC is officially formed.

Steps to Get an EIN for an LLC

1. Apply for an EIN number through the IRS.

  • The IRS is the only agency that can provide you an EIN number. It is free to apply for an EIN. 

2. Print out the EIN application to mail or fax. 

  • If you would rather apply for an EIN number through the phone, call the IRS at 267-941-1099. This option is currently only available for international applicants

3. If you want to fill out the EIN application online, it is not only the easiest way to request an EIN, it is also the preferred method by the IRS. Start by going to the IRS's EIN online application webpage.

  • The IRS online application is called the EIN assistant. It will walk you through the online application with simple interview questions.
  • The name on your EIN application must match the legal name of your LLC.

4. Mark which legal and tax structure your LLC follows. 

  • If you operate a LLC that plans on being taxed as a corporation, this is where you should let the IRS know in addition to your tax election form.

5. List out LLC members, including the number of members and where the physical business is. 

6. Detail why you need an EIN.

  • If you just started your business, you will want to let the IRS know that is why you need an EIN. 
  • If your business changed and you now need an EIN to hire employees or engage in another type of interaction where an EIN is needed, let them know.

7. Provide contact details for a single point of contact. 

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This might be your registered agent, but it can be a different person. 

  • If you are a sole proprietor LLC or a partnership, you can serve as your own contact person.

8. Provide an accurate business location where you conduct business. This might be different than your mailing address. 

9. Note if your business is subjected to special federal taxes, such as the excise tax. 

10. Detail what operations your LLC is involved in. 

11. Decide whether you want to receive your confirmation document and EIN online or through the mail.

  • You will receive a PDF document if you choose to view the document online.

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