How to Get an Employer Identification Number

An EIN can also be known as a Federal Tax Identification Number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). In the business world, an EIN is similar to an individual’s Social Security number. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) outlines specific standards for when you need to have an EIN.

If you have employees or operate your business as a partnership or like a corporation, then you must have an EIN per the IRS’s standards.

Even if you aren’t required to get an EIN, it might be a good idea. EINs can help you avoid identity theft because an EIN is often an available alternative to providing your Social Security number.

You might also encounter certain conditions, like opening a business checking account or using a company bank card, where an EIN could also be required. Moreover, companies might have to obtain EINs under the following conditions:

  • When it hires employees
  • When it pays employment, excise, alcohol, tobacco, and firearms tax returns
  • When it withholds taxes on non-wage revenue for non-resident aliens
  • If it's involved with trusts, estates, real property mortgage funding conduits, nonprofit organizations, or farmers’ cooperatives

Step one in acquiring an EIN is organizing a viable business entity. Acquiring your EIN for an LLC can be performed pretty simply online.

Put together your data. Have your answers prepared before you start the EIN application process. You can request in advance the questions about your small business and its proprietors.

Identify a responsible party. As far as the IRS is concerned, regardless of how many members are in your LLC, there is just one responsible party for every Tax ID application. Assemble your associates to decide who your LLC’s responsible party is. The responsible party’s private information might be required throughout the Tax ID application process.

Apply for EIN online, by conventional mail, or by fax. You can acquire your Tax ID or Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS through the online IRS EIN application. The online application process has a median processing time of 30 minutes and is open 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. PST. The IRS does not offer mobile assistance for EIN candidates; in case you are attempting to get your EIN after hours, there are different Tax ID obtainment providers available 24/7.

If you’d like to apply for an EIN online, you must understand that in order to be eligible, your business must conduct its operations in the United States. You will also need a valid identification like a Federal Tax ID number or a Social Security number or other EIN.

It’s also important to note that if you intend to complete an online application, you must do so in one sitting. You cannot save the online application and return later to complete it. You also cannot leave your application open and inactive for more than 15 minutes or it will expire your session and you’ll have to restart.

You'll be asked whether or not you'd like to obtain your confirmation letter online through PDF or through the mail. If you select to obtain your confirmation letter online, you’ll need Adobe Reader to access your document. You'll now be requested to confirm your information. If you notice any errors, there will be no way to correct them and you’ll have to restart the application process. If everything is correct, you’ll receive the EIN following your submission.

The IRS additionally gives a Tax ID obtainment service through conventional mail. This feature sometimes takes 4-5 weeks, depending on IRS demand and workload. In case your application is denied because of errors, you'll have to wait a few weeks to obtain your error/denial letter.

Be aware that many of those error letters don't offer any exact instruction on easy methods to resolve the issue, and it's possible you'll have to start the EIN application process again from the beginning. The IRS additionally accepts EIN applications by fax, and it sometimes takes as many as 4 days to process faxed applications.

Taxpayers can fax a completed Form SS-4 (PDF) application to their state's fax number. If the taxpayer’s fax number is supplied, a fax might be dispatched again with the EIN within 4 business days. However, utilizing this technique is not 100% foolproof, as there isn't a confirmation that your fax was efficiently delivered or that the right terminal has received it on the opposite end.

If you need help with obtaining an EIN, 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.