Updated August 12, 2020:

California State ID Number Overview

State ID number California refers to the number that will be assigned to your company in California to identify your company for tax purposes in the state. Also known as a State Employer Identification Number, or SEIN, it functions much like an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, does at the national level, identifying your company to the IRS like a Social Security number does for an individual. Unlike the EIN, which is issued by the IRS, the California SEIN is issued by the California Employment Development Department (EDD), which is also the department that collects payroll taxes in California.

Along with being an identifier for your company, the SEIN is also important because you will need it to make quarterly payments towards your employment training taxes and unemployment insurance contribution obligations, as well as remit your disability insurance contributions and income tax withheld from employee wages. Your SEIN is required to make these payments because in California the SEIN is used to make sure the tax payments are correctly linked to the account of the business making them.

Obtaining a California State ID Number

If you are operating a business in California and it is paying more than $100 worth of wages to employees per quarter of the calendar year, you must obtain a SEIN for your company. To get a SEIN, you must first make sure you have an EIN, which can be obtained for free from the IRS and which will usually be generated within minutes of application completion. Once you have this number, you must then register your company with the EDD. This occurs at their e-Services for Business website, and the registration process is as follows:

  1. On the e-Services page, click the “Enroll” link next to “Log In.”
  2. This will take you to a page where you can enroll. To do this, you must create a password and username for the site, as well as enter your first name, last name, last four digits of your Social Security Number or an original four-digit PIN, your e-mail address, and your phone number (optional).
  3. Once you have entered this information and submitted it, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to you from the EDD. Upon receiving it, you must verify your e-mail address with them within 24 hours of enrollment.
  4. Upon e-mail verification, you can then apply for the SEIN itself, which you must do by logging in on the same page that you began the sign-up process from. Past the log-in page, you will find a page where you can select “Register for Employer Payroll Tax Account Number.” Selecting this will bring you to a page prompting you to provide information concerning your business, like its business entity type, its industry, and its EIN.
  5. Once you enter and submit this information, you may receive your SEIN from within minutes to up to three days from submission.

Obtaining the SEIN or EIN of Another Company or Your Own

Unlike Social Security Numbers, SEINs and EINs are not confidential information, so if you need to obtain the SEIN or EIN of another company, there are a number of ways you can do this. They include:

  • Contacting the company directly for such information, if your reasons for obtaining it are legitimate.
  • Looking for the SEIN on a tax return for the company in question, if you have access to the records or work for the company.
  • Looking for the SEIN on any employment tax filing in California.
  • Obtaining the EIN by sending a letter of request to the IRS for Form W-9, which will list the EIN of the company in question upon it.

Additionally, if you misplace your own SEIN or EIN, you can find them through the following methods:

  • Contacting any agencies or banks that you provided the numbers to.
  • Calling the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933, which is available weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Finding Form CP-575 that was sent by the IRS after EIN application, as it will contain your EIN.

If you need help understanding issues related to state ID number California, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.