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Business EIN Number

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What is a Business EIN Number?

A business EIN number or Employer Identification Number is a business tax ID number used to identify a business with the IRS. Many companies require this number as a type of federal tax ID.

This nine-digit number is assigned upon request from the business. Business owners can do this via the online system, fax, mail, or telephone for international applicants.

Here is an article with more information about the business EIN.

How Do I Find an EIN Number for a Business?

If you have applied for an EIN for your business in the past or are unsure of what it is, you can find it in several ways.

  • Check your confirmation letter
  • Check EIN records
  • Call the IRS

If you do not remember your EIN after applying for it, these are the three most accessible ways to access it.

When you apply for an EIN, you will receive a confirmation letter you should store in a safe place. This letter will include the EIN you were assigned and is the best place to look back if you cannot remember the number.

If you have had the EIN for some time, you can also look back at other places where you may have used the EIN. This may include tax returns that you have filed, loan applications, or business license forms. In addition, most legal forms that you need to fill out on behalf of your business will have this number recorded.

Finally, you can always call the IRS directly to obtain your business EIN. However, this will likely take longer to do. You will need to work with an agent to verify your identity and company before receiving the information.

Here is an article about how to find a business EIN number.

EIN Number Lookup

For those who need to find the EIN of another business, an EIN lookup may be necessary. This process can be done by looking for legal documents from the business. Some of these are considered part of the public record.

Options include:

  • SEC EDGAR for publicly traded companies
  • Guidestar for nonprofit organizations
  • Calling the company directly
  • Locating W2 documents or federal/state
  • Using a pair database for EIN search

Publicly traded businesses are the easiest to find records for. The SEC has, on record, many documents that will include the EIN of the business. However, for nonprofits, the Guidestar system is also relatively simple to use.

Each of these platforms is free and will make it as simple as possible to find the information you need. However, finding the information is more complicated if the company is not publicly traded and is not a nonprofit.

You may need to pay a service or database to locate an EIN for companies that do not have a public record of these types. Note that calling the company’s finance office can sometimes get you the information you are looking for; however, a company is not required to give this information out.

Here is an article with information about finding another business's EIN number.

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Who Needs an EIN for Business?

Not all businesses are required to have an EIN. On the IRS website, there is a questionnaire that will let you know if you need a business EIN. In general, you will need an EIN for your business if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions below.

  • Do you have employees?
  • Do you operate your business as a corporation or partnership
  • Do you file employment, excise, or alcohol, tobacco, and firearms taxes?
  • Do you withhold taxes on income, other than wages, paid to a non-resident alien?
  • Do you have a Keogh plan?
  • Do you have a trust, estate, real estate mortgage investment conduit, non-profit organization, farmers’ cooperative, or plan administrators business?

Businesses that do not answer ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions will likely not be required to have an EIN. Speaking with a small business lawyer will allow you to know for sure if you need a number. They can also help you with the process of applying for EIN.

Here is an article about whether you need a business EIN number.

How to Get a Business EIN Number

There are four ways to get a business EIN number

  1. Online. The easiest and fastest method of getting a business EIN number is online. Anyone can fill in the information to apply and receive a number instantly.
  2. By Fax. This method can take approximately two weeks to get a response but is simple to accomplish. First, you must fill out Form SS-4 and fax it, then wait for a response with a business EIN number.
  3. By Mail. This process takes the longest as you may have to wait four to five weeks (or longer) for the business EIN number to get back to you after sending in the completed SS-4 form.
  4. By Phone. This method is available for international applicants and requires the applicant to have all the necessary information to fill out the SS-4 form over the phone.

Here is an article about applying for a business EIN number.

Do You Need an EIN for an LLC?

You will need to apply for EIN with an LLC in most cases. One of the best things you can do is apply for your number early in the process, such as when naming an LLC.

The process to create an LLC starts with:

  • Hire a small business lawyer. Working with a lawyer makes it easier for you to get all the proper documentation filled out and ensure that your LLC is legally established.
  • Choose a registered agent. In every state, you will need a registered agent for your LLC. This is the person who will receive contact and communication regarding the LLC. They will need to be at least 18 and reside in the state in which the LLC is set up.
  • Name your LLC. There are requirements in place regarding what and how you can name your LLC. You will likely need to use some form of designation that says you have created an LLC, but other requirements may exist in your state.
  • Create an operating agreement or articles of organization . An operating agreement includes details related to your LLC, such as legal requirements, financial requirements, and management rights. All states do not require an operating agreement, but it generally makes the process easier.
  • Create a partnership agreement. A partnership agreement is generally part of the process of an operating agreement. For example, suppose you have multiple entities or individuals in the LLC. You will need a partnership agreement that specifies the rights and responsibilities of each entity.
  • Get your LLC going. Once you have filled out the forms and created your LLC, you will need to keep it going. This part of the process will require different steps according to the state you live and operate your LLC from.

Here is an article about the steps to set up an LLC.

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