An Employer Identification Number (EIN, also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number or Federal Tax Identification Number) is issued by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You will use your Employer Identification Number when you pay employees and file business tax returns. It is often also required for other business purposes, such as opening a bank account or obtaining a loan. Your EIN is a unique identifier for your business – it does not expire and, once a number has been assigned to a business, it is never issued again.
If you are a sole proprietor and do not have any employees, you may use your personal Social Security Number in place of an Employer Identification Number. However, you may still consider obtaining an EIN – it’s a fast and easy way to protect your Social Security Number.
Before you apply for your EIN, you should have already determined what type of legal structure you will be using for your business (for instance, sole proprietor, corporation, etc).
Purpose of an Employer Identification Number
Employer Identification Numbers are issued for the purpose of tax administration and are not intended for participation in any other activities (e.g., tax lien auction or sales, lotteries, etc.)
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
- You may apply for an EIN online if your principal business is located in the United States or U.S. Territories.
- The person applying online must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, EIN).
- You are limited to one EIN per responsible party per day.
- The “responsible party” is the person who ultimately owns or controls the entity or who exercises ultimate effective control over the entity. Unless the applicant is a government entity, the responsible party must be an individual (i.e., a natural person), not an entity.
Step 2: Understand the Online Application
- You must complete this application in one session, as you will not be able to save and return at a later time.
- Your session will expire after 15 minutes of inactivity, and you will need to start over.
Step 3: Submit Your Application
- After all validations are done you will get your EIN immediately upon completion. You can then download, save, and print your EIN confirmation notice.