How to Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) | Nav

If you ’ re a small business owner, or are otherwise freelance, chances are you ’ ve listen of an EIN or Employer Identification Number. You may not be clear, however, on precisely what an EIN is, whether you need one, or how to go about getting a free EIN if you do .
There are four ways to apply for an Employer Identification Number ( EIN ) for detached :

  1. Complete the online application for an EIN, or
  2. Fill out form SS-4 and mail it to the IRS,
  3. Fill out form SS-4 and fax it to the IRS, 
  4. Call the IRS to request an EIN (international applicants)

An Employer Identification Number ( EIN ) is a nine-digit number used by the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) to identify a business. You may besides hear it referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number ( FEIN ) or federal Tax ID number. Think of it as the equivalent of a Social Security act for your business. The IRS requires certain businesses to get an use an EIN for tax purposes .

When does the IRS require an EIN?

The IRS offers a bare checklist you can use to determine whether your business needs an EIN. If you answer “ yes ” to any of the following questions, you need to apply for an EIN.

  • Do you have employees?
  • Do you operate your business as a corporation or a partnership? (Note that an LLC may or may not fall under this category. See below.) 
  • Do you withhold taxes on income, other than wages, paid to a non-resident alien?
  • Do you have a Keogh plan?

You must besides get an EIN if you are involved in any of the come types of organizations :

  • Trusts, except certain grantor-owned revocable trusts, IRAs, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Returns
  • Estates
  • Real estate mortgage investment conduits
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Farmers’ cooperatives
  • Plan administrators

Keep in judgment that tied if the IRS doesn ’ triiodothyronine require your commercial enterprise to get one, there may be times you need an EIN ; for model to open a business bank account or to apply for a small clientele lend .
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Do I need an EIN if I’m self-employed?

possibly. The IRS considers you self-employed if you operate a business or trade as a sole owner or an mugwump contractile organ, if you are a member of a partnership that carries on a trade or commercial enterprise or if you are differently in occupation for yourself. ( And yes, that can include “ side hustles ” or “ gig ferment, ” even if it ’ mho half-time income. )
If you are freelance, ask yourself the questions listed above and if you answer “ yes ” to any of them, you need an EIN .

Do I need an EIN for an LLC?

You may or may not need to get an EIN if your occupation structure is a limited Liability Company ( LLC ). If you answered yes to the questions listed previously, then you will need an EIN. In addition, the IRS provides steering on whether LLCs need an EIN. It includes the follow :

“ A single-member LLC that is a neglect entity that does not have employees and does not have an excise tax indebtedness does not need an EIN. It should use the name and Taxpayer Identification Number of the single member owner for federal tax purposes. however, if a single-member LLC, whose taxable income and loss will be reported by the single extremity owner needs an EIN to open a bank account, or if department of state tax jurisprudence requires the single-member LLC to have a federal EIN, the LLC can apply for and obtain an EIN. ”Source: Internal Revenue Service

Does my business need an EIN?

If you have reviewed IRS guidelines for when you need an EIN and are still diffident, it ’ randomness wise to talk with an report professional to determine what is required of your business .
In accession to IRS requirements, you may find your clientele needs an EIN to get a business bank account, to apply for finance, or to apply for a commercial enterprise license .

Does it cost money to get an EIN?

The good news is you can apply for an EIN for free. If you use a law firm or other professional service to incorporate your business, they may take care of this job for you and may or may not charge for that service. Just keep in mind that you applying for an EIN is a childlike process for most business owners, and you can do it for free on the IRS web site .

How do you apply for an EIN?

The Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) requires a complete Form SS-4 to receive an EIN .
As mentioned earlier, there are four ways to get an EIN for free :
1. Complete the online application for an EIN. You can complete the application on-line on the IRS web site at If you are successful, you will get your EIN immediately. The on-line system will guide you through the want questions bit-by-bit but there are a few caveats you should understand before you start .
You must complete the on-line application in one session ; you won ’ metric ton be able to save it and return late. In summation the on-line seance will expire after 15 minutes of inactivity, and you ’ ll have to start over, indeed design for some uninterrupted time to complete this tax. And even though it is an on-line application, you must complete it during the hours of 7 ante meridiem to 10 post meridiem Eastern Standard Time, Monday to Friday .
It ’ s a thoroughly mind to review imprint SS-4 before you start the on-line application so you can gather the data you need to complete the on-line application .
importantIf you are assigned an EIN online, make sure you save the notice verifying that your business has been assigned an EIN and keep it in a safe place.  If you are assigned an EIN on-line, make certain you save the poster verifying that your business has been assigned an EIN and keep it in a safe space. 2. Fill out form SS-4 and mail it to the IRS. If your principal commercial enterprise, office or agency, or legal residency in the case of an individual, is located in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia, chain mail it to Internal Revenue Service, Attn : EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999. If you have no legal residency, principal home of occupation, or star function or representation in any state, mail the completed imprint to Internal Revenue Service Attn : EIN International Operation Cincinnati, OH 45999. The official processing timeframe for an EIN application received by mail is four weeks, though it may take longer .
3. Fill out form SS-4 and fax it to the IRS at ( 855 ) 641-6935 if your business ( or residence if you are a sole owner ) is located in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. If you have no legal residency, principal place of business, or principal office or agency in any department of state, fax the completed shape to ( 855 ) 215-1627 ( within the U.S. ) or ( 304 ) 707-9471 ( outside the U.S. ). If approved and you provide a fax issue for a reply, you should receive your EIN by fax within four commercial enterprise days .
4. Call the IRS to request an EIN ( international applicants alone ) at +1-267-941-1099. bill that it is not a toll-free number so external earphone charges may apply, and you must call between 6 ante meridiem to 11 post meridiem ( easterly Time ), Monday through Friday. besides note the person making the call must be authorized to receive the EIN and answer questions concerning the application .

Who is the responsible party on the EIN application?

Each application must designate a “ creditworthy party ” who must be an person, not a business entity. The responsible party is the person who ultimately owns or controls the entity or who exercises ultimate effective master over the entity. And importantly, all EIN applications ( mail, facsimile, electronic ) must disclose the appoint and Taxpayer Identification Number ( SSN, TIN, ITIN, or EIN ) of the true principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner or settlor. Find more details about responsible parties here .
note that if the responsible party has requested an EIN on-line previously, they won ’ thyroxine be able to use that method acting to request one again and will have to file another way .

Who qualifies for an EIN?

Anyone whose business is located in the United States or a U.S. territory and has an existing valid taxpayer ID, such as a Social Security issue, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or previous EIN, can apply for a new EIN. While new businesses often apply for EINs, it ’ second besides potential that an established clientele will need to get one if, for example, it hires its first employee.

How long does it take to get an Employer Identification Number?

Filling out the paperwork for your EIN can take 10 minutes or less, if you are fix. How long it takes to get the number back, however, will depend on how you submit your data. If you submit the information on-line, you can get your number back immediately. Filling out the SS-4 and mailing it in can take at least 4-5 weeks .
Depending on the needs of your business, it could be in your best interest to file on-line. This could eliminate the wait between filing and submitting a loanword application or anything else for which you need your EIN .

Will my EIN ever change?

There are times when a occupation may need to apply for a new EIN. Generally, though, a business name change is not one of them .

Sole proprietorships

The IRS will ask you to obtain a raw EIN if you :

  • Are subject to a bankruptcy proceeding.
  • Incorporate.
  • Take in partners and operate as a partnership.
  • Purchase or inherit an existing business that you operate as a sole proprietorship.

It will not necessitate you to obtain a newfangled EIN if you :

  • Change the name of your business.
  • Change your location and/or add other locations.
  • Operate multiple businesses.


The IRS will require your corporation to obtain a newly EIN if :

  • A corporation receives a new charter from the secretary of state.
  • You are a subsidiary of a corporation using the parent’s EIN or you become a subsidiary of a corporation.
  • You change to a partnership or a sole proprietorship.
  • A new corporation is created after a statutory merger.

The IRS will not require your corporation to obtain a new EIN if any of the watch statements are true .

  • You are a division of a corporation.
  • The surviving corporation uses the existing EIN after a corporate merger.
  • A corporation declares bankruptcy.
  • The corporate name or location changes.
  • A corporation chooses to be taxed as an S corporation.
  • Reorganization of a corporation changes only the identity or place.
  • Conversion at the state level with business structure remaining unchanged.


Your LLC will be required to obtain a new EIN if :

  • A new LLC with more than one owner (Multi-member LLC) is formed under state law.
  • A new LLC with one owner (Single Member LLC) is formed under state law and chooses to be taxed as a corporation or an S corporation.
  • A new LLC with one owner (Single Member LLC) is formed under state law, and has an employment or excise tax filing requirement. 

Your LLC will not be required to obtain a new EIN if :

  • The LLC name or location changes.
  • You report income tax as a branch or division of a corporation or other entity, and the LLC has no employees or excise tax liability.
  • An existing partnership converts to an LLC classified as a partnership.
  • An LLC that already has an EIN chooses to be taxed as a corporation or as an S corporation.
  • A new LLC with one owner (single member LLC) is formed under state law, does not choose to be taxed as a corporation or S corporation, and has no employees or excise tax liability. 

NOTE: You may request an EIN for bank or state tax purposes, but an EIN is not required for union tax purposes .
For full details on when you need ( or don ’ t need ) a newfangled EIN, visit .

How Do I Find My Employer Identification Number?

If you ’ ve already received your EIN and have misplaced it, there are a number of ways to retrieve it .

  1. Look back at your records to see if you have the printed notice from the IRS. If you applied by mail or fax, you will have received the mailed or faxed notice, but if you applied online you will have to rely on the copy you saved online. 
  2. Call the IRS Business & Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933. 
  3. Contact your bank if you opened a bank account under the business name. Banks are required to obtain your EIN before opening the account, so they likely have it on hand. 
  4. Review prior tax returns where you used your EIN. 

What do I do with my EIN?

Regardless of which application method acting you use to apply, if you are successful, you ’ ll receive a Form SS-4 Notice verifying that your business has been assigned an EIN. Be surely to hang onto that notification so you can use it to verify your EIN whenever necessary .
It may be requested when you apply for a assortment of business services, including a occupation license or fabricated name ( “ doing business as ” ), or fiscal products such as occupation credit cards, humble business loans or business bank accounts .
just as you would never want to use the wrong Social Security number when applying for personal loans, you never want to use the wrong EIN when applying for clientele loans .
Your EIN may or may not appear on your business citation reports. Each occupation accredit report agency assigns a singular count for your business credit file in its system, and for that cause, your EIN is not the chief identifier for your occupation citation reports .
Related: What is a DUNS Number ?
finally, business identity larceny is a serious trouble. If you believe person is using your business name or EIN to file tax returns or tax forms, make certain you contact the IRS immediately to file a business identity larceny case .
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This article was in the first place written on December 17, 2019 and updated on February 25, 2022 .

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