What Is IRS Form SS-4?

IRS Form SS-4, or Application for Employer Identification Number, is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form that companies use to apply for an employer identification number (EIN). The EIN is required for federal tax reporting, along with different corporate functions, such as applying for a business license or opening a company checking account.

When you’ve been in business for a while, you most likely don’t have a replica of your Form SS-4. Fortunately, the IRS now has an internet application option that doesn’t require you to submit a form. It merely prompts you to answer a series of interview-style questions.

If you’re starting your individual enterprise, establishing a trust, or simply promoting interest and profits greater than $600 yearly while living in the U.S., you’re required to have an Employer Identification Number to file taxes for these funds. Failure to comply with the IRS laws for EINs and taxation in the U.S. is punishable by fines and/or jail time, so you should certainly apply for your EIN and file your yearly taxes correctly. There is just one IRS Form SS-4 that covers all enterprises in addition to sole proprietorships.

The official IRS Form SS-4 Part 9a “Type of Entity” is the place you choose the kind of EIN you require, for instance:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership
  • Corporation
  • Estate
  • Plan administrator
  • Trust
  • National Guard
  • Famers cooperative
  • State/local government
  • Federal government/military
  • Indian tribal governments/enterprises
  • Personal service corporation
  • Church or church-controlled organization
  • Other nonprofit organization
  • Other (specify)

It's preferable to seek out an online Form SS-4 processing assistant to help ensure that your form is correctly completed to prevent it from being rejected because of incompletion or inaccurate info. Some individuals choose to utilize the services of law firms to file their EIN form on their behalf; however, this usually isn’t necessary. Simply utilizing a Form SS-4 assistant and following his/her supporting paperwork guidelines is a price-efficient solution when you need an EIN.

Form SS-4: Application for Employer Identification Number

If you purchase a business for which an EIN is required, use your individual EIN or get a brand new one--don't use the EIN of the previous owner. When you run a couple of businesses as a sole proprietor, it is best to use identical EINs for each; for those who run companies of different types other than sole proprietorships, you may want a separate EIN for each. To apply for an EIN, you can file a paper Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, with the IRS Service Center in your state. When you apply for an EIN by mail, it usually takes about four weeks to receive the number. If you file your tax return before you obtain the EIN, write "applied" in the space provided for the EIN.

Why Do I Need an SS-4?

You must fill out a Form SS-4 under the following conditions:

  • If you have not obtained an EIN for your group and if your group pays wages to staff members.
  • If you want an EIN to apply for an IRS return or declaration, even if you don’t act as an employer.
  • If you are required to withhold taxes on earnings not paid to a non-resident alien.
  • If you are planning to file a Schedule C (Revenue or Loss From Enterprise), Schedule F (Revenue or Loss From Farming), or Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return).
  • If the IRS requires you to file employment, excise, tobacco, alcohol, firearms, or Keogh plan returns.

When applying for a small enterprise mortgage, there will be some paperwork to finish and documentation you need to supply. Some lenders will request a replica of your Form SS-4 as a part of the application process.

Getting a Copy of Your Form SS-4

No matter your state of affairs, the IRS won’t offer you a copy of your Form SS-4. To get a copy of your Form SS-4, be sure you know your EIN—you can look it up on your tax returns or company paperwork if you are unsure. Call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line, (800) 829-4933, which is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday.

If you need help with your Form SS-4, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.