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.

How Do I Apply for an EIN?

You may order EIN service when you form your business with IncNow or you may order the service separately at a later date. You may also apply for an EIN on your own directly with the IRS.

While the EIN application requires personal information in order to be issued, that information is solely used to assign a number and not to tie any personal information to the company or the EIN.

Oftentimes a business undergoes changes, prompting the question of whether they will need a new EIN. Changing the name or location of a company does not require a new EIN to be assigned, as long as it is still operating under the same filing. Likewise, a corporation or LLC with an EIN already assigned will not need to obtain a new number if they elect to be taxed as an S-corporation.

The IRS provides a list of scenarios in which a new EIN will be required for changes made to a company. These situations include subsidiaries of corporations using the parent corporation’s EIN, new corporations being created after a merger, and new single-member LLCs electing to be taxed as an S-corporation.

When you form your business, a registered agent like IncNow can typically secure your corporation or LLC’s EIN the same day. However, it typically takes 2-5 weeks to receive a hard copy of your EIN from the IRS by mail.

What Is an EIN Number?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax ID Number, is a nine-digit number assigned to a business for the purpose of identification with the IRS: it’s the business entity equivalent of a social security number for citizens.

Why Do I Need an EIN?

An EIN is required for any corporation or LLC that consists of multiple members or employees. An EIN is required to withhold taxes from employees, open bank accounts, and any application that requires a business to validate its authenticity.

How is an EIN different from a Tax ID Number?

EIN stands for “Employer Identification Number” and is the number assigned to businesses that serves as the main identifier for the IRS. A Tax ID Number is a generalization and refers to any tax ID number, such as a social security number,  ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number), or EIN.

Where Do I Apply for an EIN?

Applying for an EIN is simple and easy through our services, or through the IRS directly. To apply for an EIN directly with the IRS you would visit www.irs.gov/ein and complete the online application. Please be aware that this application requires a U.S. Social Security Number to complete. If you do not have a U.S. Social Security Number, you can still obtain an EIN but will need to take a different route.

How Do I Find My EIN?

If you have applied for and received an EIN but cannot find it, you can try the following to locate it:

  • If you opened a business bank account using the EIN, call your bank. They may provide it to you with proper verification.
  • Find copies of past tax returns in your company’s files. The EIN is likely to be on the tax returns.
  • Call your registered agent if they obtained the EIN on your behalf. Although it is not part of registered agent service, they may have record of it on your account.
  • Call the IRS’s Business & Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933. This operates from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. With proper verification, the operators can provide the number to the person who was listed as the authorized person on the SS-4 form.

Can You Use an EIN for More Than One Business?

An EIN is unique to each business. A Series LLC can have just one EIN for its master LLC but it is not advisable to use the same EIN for its protected series as well. A Series LLC should obtain an EIN for each separate protected series that does business.

What Does an EIN Look Like?

Every EIN has nine digits and is formatted in the same manner. It will start with two digits followed by a dash, then seven more digits. An example would be 12-3456789. The EIN will be provided at the end of the online application and also in an EIN Verification letter called a 147C.

Can You Apply for an EIN Before You Incorporate?

No, you should not apply for your EIN until after you incorporate. The IRS website will allow you to obtain the EIN prior to incorporation but it is advised to wait until after the incorporation is complete with the state before proceeding with the EIN application. The EIN application will ask for the date of incorporation, which is not set until the filing is complete with many jurisdictions.

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