Filing an EIN for your business is easy and can be done by almost anyone. We show you how to file directly with the IRS and will take less than 5 minutes. Check out our instructions and video to see for yourself!
The other essential after filing your Articles of Organization with your state is to obtain an EIN number. An EIN, also called the Employer Identification Number, a FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) or sometimes a Tax ID Number, is sort of like a Social Security number for an individual, but instead used for a business.
While both an SSN and EIN have nine digits, they are written differently to help distinguish the two.
An EIN will be written as 12-3456789; while a Social Security number is usually written as 123-45-6789.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides the EIN numbers.
Your business needs an EIN even if you have no employees.
Despite the word “Employer” in the name, an EIN is important to get even if you don’t plan on hiring employees at first (or ever).
Banks will ask for your EIN to open business checking accounts, issue credit cards, or make loans.
Other businesses you deal with-such as resellers, wholesalers, and affiliate-will also ask for your EIN. Your EIN is also used to file your tax returns.
One exception to needing an EIN is that if you are a sole proprietor and have no employees, you do not need to apply for this tax identification number. You will simply use your social security number.
Do it yourself and save
Most online companies that provide incorporation services also include a service for obtaining an EIN, often charging $75 or more. You can do this yourself for free. To apply for an EIN, all you need to fill out IRS form SS-4 or file online. The IRS does not charge any filing fee to obtain an EIN.
Some companies that charge for filing EINs claim that the IRS charges a fee, which they pass on to you. That’s simply not true. The IRS gives you an EIN free if you fill apply yourself.
When Do you Apply for an EIN?
Be sure to wait and apply for an EIN until after your legal entity is formed. You must have the legal name of the business match the business name on the EIN application, otherwise there will be issues when filing the federal tax returns for the business.
How Long Does it Take to Get an Employer Identification Number?
Filing for the Federal Tax ID Number online will take less than 5 minutes and you have the number almost immediately. Mailing the SS-4 is quite a bit slower and will take at least 4-5 weeks.
How Long is an EIN Good For?
As long as you use the EIN on a federal tax return at least once in the last 3 years, the EIN will not expire.
How Do I Apply for an EIN?
You can download the form from the IRS website at:
IRS Form SS-4 download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format or copy and paste the following URL into your browser:
You have the option to call in to the IRS’s toll-free number (the number you can call is printed on the form) with your Form SS4 information and obtain an EIN over the phone.
If you prefer to fill out an online application, fill out the IRS EIN Online Application. This is the fastest option
Note that the above link is only active Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time (yes, I know, hours of operation for a webpage…)
This video shows how to apply for an EIN