1. Search for EIN
2. When Your Company Needs an EIN
3. What to Do if You Lost Your EIN
4. Finding Another EIN

Search for EIN

How do you search for an EIN? An EIN is also known as Employer Identification Number. This is a nine-digit number that is issued by the Internal Revenue Service to employers and is used for tracking the financial information of a company.

Your company’s EIN may change, over time. For example, if you begin your business as a sole proprietorship but later on decide to incorporate, you will need to be issued a new EIN, as the definition of your business structure has changed.

When Your Company Needs an EIN

Generally speaking, all companies are required to obtain an EIN from the IRS, with the exception of sole proprietorships. However, even a sole proprietorship is required to obtain an EIN if the business has employees; otherwise, the business owner may use their own Social Security Number. In addition to corporations, nonprofit organizations, and state and local government agencies are required to have EINs.

It is worth noting that the EIN, as assigned by the IRS, is not the same thing as the Employee Number that is assigned to your company by the state in which you do business.

What to Do if You Lost Your EIN

While this may seem like a frightening prospect, it is not. It is quite easy to locate your company’s EIN (or, the EIN of your employer). You can do this by any number of ways, including:

  • Simply contacting the IRS. Providing you have been keeping all of your business information current with the IRS, such as the company name, address, etc., you should be able to reach out to them, and they can provide you with your EIN. However, as the IRS will need to take certain steps to ensure that you are who you say you are (combined with the often long hold times, when calling the IRS), this may take a while.
  • If you are an employee trying to locate your employers EIN, you can find it on your W2.
  • If you have maintained a good filing system, you should be able to locate the form that was sent to you by the IRS when they assigned your company its EIN.
  • Many companies provide their EIN when establishing their bank accounts, so you may also be able to contact your financial institution, and they should have it on file.
  • Your EIN should be on your previous tax returns; therefore, provided you have them, it is easy enough to locate your EIN there. If you do not, then your business accountant, or whomever completed and filed your tax returns, should definitely have them.

Finding Another EIN

Perhaps you wish to locate the EIN of a company different from yours or the one for which you work. While it may sound odd, there is any number of reasons as to why you may want to do this. For example:

  • You may be a particularly savvy investor, and you want to do as much research as possible on a certain company prior to purchasing stock or making another type of financial investment. As certain types of information regarding companies are required by law to be public information, having the EIN can ensure you are researching the correct company and can make finding that information that much easier.
  • There may be some reason as to why you need to look into any legal actions taken against a company. Having the proper EIN will make looking into any public records easier and allow for more thorough research.

There are a few ways by which you can obtain the EIN of a company:

  • Provided that you have a legitimate reason for asking, you can simply call the company and ask them. Granted, they are not required to provide you that information over the phone, but assuming they do not have anything to hide, there is really no reason as to why a company would not provide you with their EIN.
  • You can utilize a free service called EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering Service), which is maintained by the SEC, or Securities Exchange Commission. This will provide you with plenty of information on a company, including the EIN.

If you need help with searching for 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.