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How Do I Apply for an EIN, aka Federal Tax ID Number

Once you’ve formed a new LLC or corporation, you’ll need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Think of this number as the equivalent of a Social Security Number for your company. This unique code helps the IRS identify your company and is used for everything from banking to payments to tax purposes.

Here’s what you need to know about EINs, as well as how to apply for an EIN number.

What Is an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax ID Number, is the unique identifying number assigned to a business by the IRS. The EIN number functions like a Social Security Number (SSN) assigned to individuals. The EIN number is crucial for identifying your business with the IRS and is used in various business activities, including banking, payments, and tax filing.

How to Apply for an EIN for Your New LLC or Corporation

Once you’ve formed a new LLC or corporation, your next step is to apply for an EIN. You can order EIN service during your business formation with IncNow® or apply directly with the IRS. The EIN application process involves providing some personal information, however, this is solely for assigning the EIN and does not link personal details to your business.

When Does a Business Need a New EIN?

Are you wondering if your business changes require a new EIN? Generally, changing your company’s name or location doesn’t require a new EIN if the business operation remains unchanged. However, the IRS specifies certain situations where getting a new EIN is essential, like forming a new corporation after a merger or if a single-member LLC elects S-Corporation tax status.

Steps to Secure Your Business’s EIN Quickly

Obtaining your EIN can be quick and straightforward. For U.S. customers, IncNow can often secure your EIN the same day you form your business. 

For international customers, obtaining the EIN number can take between 2-5 weeks. Foreign individuals who do not have a U.S. Social Security Number cannot complete the EIN application online and must submit the application to the IRS by fax.

What’s the Difference Between an EIN and a Tax ID Number?

An EIN specifically refers to the “Employer Identification Number,” which is the unique identifier for businesses with the IRS. A Tax ID Number is a more general term that can refer to any tax identification number, including Social Security Numbers and ITINs (Individual Tax Identification Numbers) for individuals.

How and Where to Apply for an EIN

Applying for an EIN is a simple process that can be done through a registered agent, like IncNow, or directly with the IRS. Keep in mind that you need to have a U.S. Social Security Number in order to apply for an EIN online. 

If you do not have a Social Security Number, there are alternative options to acquire an EIN.

Where to Find Your EIN if You’ve Lost It

If you need to find your EIN, there are several methods you can try. You can check with your business bank, review past tax returns, contact your registered agent, or call the IRS’s Business & Specialty Tax Line for assistance.

Can a Single EIN Cover Multiple Businesses?

Every business should have its own Employer Identification Number (EIN). 

A Series LLC might use one EIN for its master LLC, however, different EINs are recommended for each protected series within the LLC.

Recognizing the Format of an EIN

An EIN is identifiable by its nine-digit format: two digits, a dash, followed by seven more digits (e.g., 12-3456789).

Should You Get an EIN Before Incorporating?

Timing is key when applying for an EIN. It’s advised to apply for your EIN after your business incorporation is complete, as the EIN application asks for the date of incorporation, which isn’t finalized until the state filing is complete.

When deciding where to form your company, consider that Delaware has advantages over your home state that may benefit you. Go