When you first start a business or hire employees, you should get your Employer ID Number. Also, if you are incorporating or filing as an LLC, this is also a good time to get it. Without a Federal Tax ID Number, you can’t get a business bank account or file your business tax returns.
If you had an EIN as a sole proprietor and now want to incorporate or file as an LLC, you will need to reapply for a new Employer Identification Number, as, essentially, you as starting a new business, at least in business status. Keep in mind you will also need a new business bank account if you originally opened one as a sole proprietor.
You can apply for your EIN online through the IRS’ website, or you can let CorpNet™ do the work for you. Having us help you can help save you time and money, and we can bundle your Federal Tax ID Number with one of our other business filing services.
It is possible to look up a federal tax ID number
easily. You can use Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, known as EDGAR. This system is maintained by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and tracks all information filed by for profit companies with the organization/ The system is available for as a free service online. Several forms contain the federal tax id number, or EIN such as the 8-K, 10-K and 10-Q reports.
If the business is a non-profit organization, Melissa Data is an organization working to provide important information about non-profits to individuals. One of the free databases available to the public is online and allows people to search for business information based on the name, zip code, or the tax ID. When searching, the results will render a federal tax ID number.
If possible, ask the business for their federal tax identification number. Someone in accounting should be able to provide the information. When using EDGAR, remember to try searching just the first few letters of the business name because not all businesses are listed under the name they are most well known by. When using Melissa Data, it is important to remember to use a zip code of a corporate office rather than a local branch.
When starting a new business you will need to get a Federal Tax ID number to file your business tax returns unless you are a sole proprietor with no employees and you will not be filing any excise or pension plan tax returns. In that case you can file your business taxes using your social security number.
A Federal Tax ID number is a nine-digit number of the form XX-XXXXXXX. It is also referred to as a Taxpayer ID Number (TIN) or an Employer ID Number (EIN). The IRS uses all three designations interchangeably.
The IRS offers a number of ways to apply for a TIN.
- By Telephone: You can call the Business & Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933 from 7am to 10pm, Monday through Friday. The federal tax ID number assigned to you over the phone and can be used immediately.
- By Fax: Complete IRS Form SS-4 and send it to your state fax number, which can be found at Where to File – Business Forms and Filing Addresses. If you include your fax number on the form, the federal tax ID number will be faxed back within four business days.
- By Mail: Complete IRS Form SS-4 and mail it in. You will receive your tax ID number within four weeks.
- Online: You can use the Internet EIN application to give your information over the Internet, and a number will be issued to you once the information has been verified. Note that not all business types can use this method of application.
For faxed and mailed applications, if you have not received your confirmation notice within the time frame listed, call the Business & Specialty Tax Line listed above and ask about the status of your application. Do not reapply as you might be issued duplicate identification numbers.
If you have not received your identification number by the tax filing deadline, write “Applied For” in the space provided for the EIN.
If your business ownership or structure changes, you will likely need to apply for a new taxpayer identification number, depending on your business type. You will not need to apply for a new number if you change only the name or location of your business. Some common reasons for needing a new tax ID number include:
- You change your business type; for example, from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or a corporation.
- The business is sold to or inherited by a new owner.
- You are a sole proprietor and are subject to a bankruptcy proceeding.
These are only a few reasons you might need a new number. For a more detailed list, broken down by business type, see Do You Need a New EIN?
Should you misplace your taxpayer ID number, the IRS recommends the following actions to retrieve it.
- Find the original notice sent by the IRS that assigned you the number. This should have been filed in a safe place as soon as it was received.
- If you used the number to open a bank account or apply for a business license, you can contact the bank or licensing agency and get the number from them.
- You can call the Business & Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933 and ask the IRS to search for your number. As long as you are authorized to receive it, the IRS will give you the number over the phone after confirming your identity.