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 or an FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number), is sort of like a Social Security number 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.
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.
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. The IRS does not charge any filing fee for you 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 out the form yourself.
How to get the forms
You can download form SS-4 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 SS-4 information and obtain an EIN over the phone.
If you prefer to fill out an online application, the URL is:
IRS Online EIN Application
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…)