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How do I get a Federal Tax Identification Number (E.I.N. Number)?

Updated on September 25, 2019
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I was a Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) and a partner in 3 national brand tax preparation stores in Pennsylvania for over 10 years.

A Federal Employer Identification Number or E.I.N. is easy to get on-line

Who Needs an E.I.N.:

A Federal Tax Identification Number (Employer Identification Number or E.I.N.) is used to identify a business just like your social security number identifies you. Trusts, estates, pensions, corporations, partnerships and any business that hires employees are a few examples of entities that need an E.I.N.

Anyone who receives a 1099 for services performed is in business as at least a sole proprietor. Sole proprietorships, (basically you in business for yourself with no employees except for maybe your wife), can be identified by your social security number rather than an E.I.N. There are a few reasons a Sole proprietor may want an E.I.N. One important reason would be to maximize the amount you can save for retirement. You need an E.I.N. to open an individual or solo 401(k). Compared to a regular IRA, a sole proprietor can put away far more of their earnings into an individual 401(k).

How to Apply:

While you can complete a paper Form SS-4 and mail it in. You can also apply by telephone or fax. But, the easiest and fastest way to apply is on-line. It is free, easy, and you will have your E.I.N. ready for use at the end of the short process.

Applying On-Line:

Go to the link below to apply for free on-line.

To apply all you will need is:

1. The type of entity (sole propriertor, household employer, corporation, partnership, LLC, estate, trust, etc.).

2. The reason you are applying for the E.I.N. For a sole proprietor the reasons include:

a. Started a new business.

b. Hired employee(s).

c. Banking purposes such as the individual 401(k).

d. Changed type of organization.

e. Purchased an active business.

3. Your name, address, phone number and social security number.

4. The trade name or doing business as name, the county and state where the sole proprietor is located, and the start date for the sole proprietorship.

Just follow the directions and before you know it you'll have your E.I.N.

A couple of things you should be aware of even after you have your Federal E.I.N. First, even though you have your number, it will not be in the IRS electronic system for 2 weeks after you apply. Second, this is a federal E.I.N. Your state may require a separate state E.I.N. Remember to check your individual state's requirements.

Disclaimer: Any federal tax or tax planning information provided above or linked to this article is not meant to be specific to any particular individual or situation. Anyone who wishes to apply this information should first discuss it with their lawyer, accountant, or tax professional to determine its appropriateness or how it specifically applies to their unique situation.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Mark Shulkosky


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