Getting an EIN Number for an LLC

Getting an EIN number for an LLC is important, as this number is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to help identify your business. It is a 9-digit number (similar to a Social Security Number). Before you can hire employees, open a business bank account, or obtain financing, you will need to obtain an EIN, which can be done for free by applying online, by fax, or by mail.

How to Obtain an EIN

The quickest way to obtain an EIN is to apply online. If you submit your request online (Form SS-4), you will immediately receive an EIN number after submitting your application. The online application is available for all companies that have principal addresses or registered agents located in the U.S. or U.S. Territories. The person or business submitting the application must have a valid social security number or EIN in order to use the online application. For example, an LLC might be formed with two members. One member could be an individual, whereas, the other member could be a corporation. Now let’s assume that a representative of the corporation is submitting an online application to obtain an EIN for the newly formed LLC. The representative must input the corporation’s EIN when submitting the online application.

The following information must be submitted with your application:

  • Name of business
  • Principal address of business
  • Responsible party requesting the EIN, along with that party’s Social Security Number or EIN (as previously noted)
  • The reason for requesting an EIN (i.e., Starting new business)
  • The type of business structure (i.e., LLC, Corporation, Partnership, etc.)
  • The number of members (for LLCs only)
  • The official start date of the business, along with the number of employees that are expected to begin working over the next 12 months
  • The closing month of the accounting year, i.e., December

If you choose to fax this form, it should take about one week to process. If, however, you mail the form, it could take approximately four weeks to process your request. Note that you can also choose to request an EIN by telephone. You’ll have to call between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. The individual requesting the EIN must be authorized to do so and must answer specific questions regarding information that would ordinarily be included on Form SS-4.

Reasons to Apply for an EIN

There are many reasons to apply for an EIN, including the following circumstances:

  • If you are starting a new business
  • If you will begin hiring employees
  • If you need to open a bank account that requires an EIN
  • If you need to obtain a line of credit or other financing
  • If you changed the ownership structure of your business, i.e., converting from one business structure to a different business structure
  • If you represent an estate after an owner’s death

Keep in mind that unless you operate as a sole proprietorship or as an LLC with no employees, you will likely be required to obtain an EIN. Even if you operate as one of the two above-mentioned business structures with no employees, you still might need to obtain an EIN if you plan on seeking financial assistance for your business’s operations.

There are also many benefits to having an EIN even if you otherwise don’t need one. The IRS, financial institutions, and credit card companies can more easily track your business finances if you have an EIN. This can be a benefit as you will likely have less issues obtaining financing if you have an EIN.

Having an EIN also provides separation between you and your business, which can help enhance liability in terms of the business’s debts and obligations. However, operating an LLC always provides limited liability as the owner’s personal assets are protected in the event that a lawsuit is brought against the LLC. Some exceptions do exist, particularly if the lawsuit involves allegations of fraud.

If you need help obtaining an EIN number for your LLC, 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.