Need to get tax ID number for small business? Any new business owner can obtain a federal tax identification number by filing the right forms.

How to Get a Tax ID Number for a Small Business

The first step in obtaining a federal tax identification number is registering the business with your Secretary of State's office. Just about every state has its own website that targets small business owners, where you can find links to all required registration forms and steps. Next, you will need to take different steps with the federal government agency to get your tax ID number. Your business can receive this number by completing form SS-4 and filing it with the IRS.

Another name for a tax ID number for a business is the employee identification number or EIN. An EIN is used by the federal government to identify a variety of business types, including:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Businesses
  • Churches
  • Trusts

All independent and individual business entities operating in the United States must pay all required federal taxes. In order to pay taxes accurately, business entities must also have taxpayer ID numbers, which are assigned by the IRS. An EIN to a business is similar to a social security number to an individual. Your business will also need a tax ID number for payroll, tax purposes, and to open a business bank account.

When Do You Need a Tax ID Number?

If any of the following apply, you would need to apply for a federal tax ID number:

  • Starting a partnership
  • Establishing a nonprofit organization
  • Starting a different type of business entity
  • Setting up a trust
  • Establishing payroll procedures to pay employees
  • Handling an estate
  • Filing tax returns for a business
  • Setting up a Keogh Plan, solo 401(k), 401(k), or SEP IRA for a business

As the owner of a business, you can request an EIN by mail, phone, or through the IRS website. If you choose to request the EIN by phone, make sure to call the IRS phone line that is dedicated to providing tax ID numbers. Completing the application online is the easiest and fastest way to receive your business EIN. As soon as you complete the application through the website, you will receive an assigned EIN instantly. The only drawback to using the online system is that it's only available during certain times of the day.

On the application, you'll need to include some basic information:

  • Business entity type
  • Social security number of the person filling out the form
  • Business name and address
  • The state in which the organization will operate

If you need assistance navigating the complex IRS website, you can request help from a third-party expert.

For those who choose to apply for a tax ID number by mail, a confirmation letter will come from the IRS within 6-8 weeks of submitting the form. This letter will include the EIN that has been assigned to your business. If you apply for an EIN through the IRS phone system, the confirmation letter from the IRS will come in the mail within 2 to 3 weeks. For filing by phone, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-4933.

Register the Business

After you receive your company's federal EIN, the next step is registering the business with the tax authority in your state, such as the revenue department. Find the registration form on the state tax authority's website and either fill it out and submit it online or print, complete, and file it by mail.

This form will require you to include the physical and mailing addresses of the business, the business purpose, how long it has been operating, the owner's name, and the telephone number. In some states, additional required information includes an email address and the federal tax ID number of the business.

The final step is watching for the tax registration packet to arrive by mail from your state. This packet will include information that is beneficial to new business owners in the state, along with the tax ID number that has been assigned to your business.

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