1. What Is an EIN?
2. How to Apply for an IRS EIN

If you receive an EIN online application error 109, what do you do? The most common reason for receiving a 109 error code is that too many people are attempting to obtain an EIN at the same time. It could also be the result of a system glitch that might be resolved by restarting your computer, using a different browser, clearing caches, adjusting your security settings, or simply trying again later.

What Is an EIN?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a specific nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to business entities that are operating in the United States. This unique number is used for the purpose of identification. An EIN is also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). In order for employees to file taxes, business owners need to obtain an employee identification number. An EIN is primarily used to report employment taxes.

It is not the employee‘s responsibility to obtain an EIN. Rather, it's the responsibility of the company to obtain these numbers. There are two ways that businesses may obtain an EIN:

  1. Apply in person: Business owners may apply in person at an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office. Be sure to note the hours of operation, because applications cannot be processed outside of normal business hours.
  2. Apply online: Business owners may complete the application online by visiting the IRS website. If you choose to apply on the weekend, expect a one- to two-day delay to process your request. Applying online is the fastest way to obtain an EIN.

Be aware that there may be fees associated with the application process. When completing the form, you will have two different delivery options to choose from, standard and rush. With the standard delivery, you will be required to pay a one-time processing fee before your application can be processed. If you choose the rush delivery option, your application will be processed within 60 minutes, during normal business hours.

How to Apply for an IRS EIN

There are many steps involved when applying for an EIN. The majority of businesses apply online because it‘s the fastest way to obtain an EIN. The IRS website is user-friendly, and the process is known to be easy and straightforward.

When applying for your EIN, it is important to note the following:

  • Find the application that directly applies to your business.
  • Never rush through the application process.
  • Do not leave any questions unanswered.
    • If you accidentally leave a question unanswered, your application may be rejected by an IRS agent. This will require you to complete and resubmit another form.

A responsible party and correlating tax ID number are required for each EIN application. Most likely, the party will be an individual using his or her Social Security number, but a business with another EIN may also qualify. However, the IRS will not process an online EIN application if the party is a business entity with an EIN that was granted online. To clarify, the party must be an individual with a valid Social Security number or a business with an EIN that was not obtained online. Otherwise, your online application for an EIN will result in an error.

You may be unsure if a business holds an EIN that was obtained online. If an entity's EIN begins with the following numbers, it was received through an online application process: 20, 26, 27, 45, 46, or 47. These businesses may never be a responsible party on your online EIN application. If that is the case, one of the following two steps must be taken:

  • Apply for your EIN over the phone.
  • List another responsible party on the application, such as the owner of the business or the individual who owns the entity.

An individual or business may be used on another online EIN application if the entity's EIN begins with the following numbers: 30, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38, 61, 80, 84, 90, or 91. These numbers indicate that their EIN was not issued through an online EIN application.

Remember, the IRS only issues one EIN per party per day. This limitation is applicable to all EIN requests, including those made by phone, fax, mail, or through an online application. Therefore, if the responsible party on an EIN application has been issued an EIN on a certain day, that party must wait until the next day to apply for another EIN on which he or she is to be the responsible party.

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