Getting Your Business EIN
By: Financial Hotline
Spring 2019 (Vol. 37, No. 1)
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number and is used to identify a business entity. Generally, most businesses need an EIN.
As of May 13, 2019, only individuals with tax identification numbers may request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) as the “responsible party” on the application. The change prohibits entities from using their own EINs to obtain additional EINs. Individuals named as the responsible party must have either a Social Security number (SSN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). The requirement applies to both the paper Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, and online EIN application.
Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service. Beware of websites on the Internet that charge for this free service.
All EIN applications are limited to one EIN per day. So, if you are requesting an EIN for both a corporation and an LLC, you would need two days to get both. must disclose the name and Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN or ITIN) of the true principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner or trustor. This individual, which the IRS will call the “responsible party,” controls, manages, or directs the applicant entity and the disposition of its funds and assets. Unless the applicant is a government entity, the responsible party must be an individual (i.e., a natural person), not an entity.
Apply online at IRS.gov. The Internet EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN. Once the application is completed, the information is validated during the online session, and an EIN is issued immediately. The online application process is available for all entities whose principal business, office or agency, or legal residence (in the case of an individual), is in the United States or U.S. Territories.
Apply by Fax. Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to (855) 641-6935 after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information. If the taxpayer’s fax number is provided, a fax will be sent back with the EIN within four (4) business days.
Apply by Mail. Send your completed Form SS-4 to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
The processing timeframe for an EIN application received by mail is four weeks.
Apply by Telephone – International Applicants. International applicants may call 267-941-1099 6a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN. The person making the call must be authorized to receive the EIN and answer questions concerning the Form SS-4. Application for Employer Identification Number. Complete the Third Party Designee section only if you want to authorize the named individual to receive the entity’s EIN and answer questions about the completion of Form SS-4. The designee’s authority terminates at the time the EIN is assigned and released to the designee. You must complete the signature area for the authorization to be valid.
If you previously applied for and received an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business, but have since misplaced it, try any or all of the following actions to locate the number:
- Search your email for the computer-generated notice that was issued by the IRS when you applied for your EIN. This notice is issued as a confirmation of your application for, and receipt of an EIN.
- If you used your EIN to open a bank account, or apply for any type of state or local license, they may be able to give you that information.
- Any previously filed tax return should be notated with your EIN.
Ask the IRS to search for your EIN by calling the Business & Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933. The hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday. An assistor will ask you for identifying information and provide the number to you over the telephone, as long as you are a person who is authorized to receive it.