Tax ID Numbers

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number used by the IRS to identify your particular business. Your EIN is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number. It works just like a social security number, but for your business. You use an EIN to file your business’s taxes, open bank accounts, and much more.

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You can apply for an EIN through the IRS website if you live in the United States or one of its territories. You can also fill out a Form SS-4 and fax or mail it directly to the IRS. It can take up to four weeks to process an EIN application. You will receive a notification from the IRS that your application is approved. The notification will include your new EIN number, which you will use for filing your business taxes and managing business finances.

Not having an EIN can keep you from getting necessary business funding or from meeting important tax deadlines.

If you have an EIN for your business, but cannot locate it, you can try the following:

  • Find the IRS-generated notice that was sent to you when you applied for your EIN.
  • Locate a previous tax return for your business that includes your EIN.
  • Contact the IRS, which can perform an EIN lookup for you.

You need a business tax ID number to do the following:

  • File business tax returns or make tax payments
  • Apply for a business loan
  • Open a business bank account
  • Apply for a business credit card
  • Issue Form 1099s to independent contractors

Businesses need a new EIN if their ownership or structure changes. The process of obtaining a new EIN is the same as when you acquired your initial EIN for the business. You do not need to apply for a new EIN if you change your business’s name.

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