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Federal Tax Identification Number: How to Get an EIN Online

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to taxpayers who are required to file business tax returns. EINs are used by:

  • Employers
  • Sole Proprietors
  • Corporations
  • Partnerships
  • Non-profit Associations
  • Trusts
  • Estates of Decedents
  • Government Agencies
  • Certain individuals
  • Other business entities

Employer Identification Number

You need an EIN if:

  • Your business is new,
  • You need to pay business taxes,
  • You have one or more employees,
  • You want to start a line of business credit,
  • You want to open a business bank account, or
  • You are forming an LLC, Corporation, or Partnership.

You can apply for an EIN online at:

https://sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp

Please Note: The online EIN application is a free service of the IRS. There are other sites on which you can fill out an application, but they will charge you. Make sure the site you go to contains “irs.gov.”

The form can only be filled out during IRS office hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. To 10 p.m, Eastern Standard Time. Confirm the times before beginning the application.

You will begin the application process on the “EIN Assistant” site that will guide you through a simplified application process.

  • You do not need special computer skills or special software. You need Internet access and a current Internet browser.
  • You need to complete the application in one session. It takes only about 15 minutes. If you leave the site before you are finished, your information is not saved, and you will have to start from the beginning when you return. Also, if you are inactive on the site for 15 minutes, your session expires automatically for security purposes. In that case, you will also have to start from the beginning.

Federal Tax ID

You will receive your EIN immediately upon verification of the information you entered.

Screen One

On the first screen of EIN Assistant, you will find a Help menu on the top right of the page if you are unsure about something. Also, some words and phrases are blue and underlined. Click on them for definitions or explanations.

At the bottom of the page, click on “Begin Application.”

Screen Two

Click in the circle to identify the type of legal structure for the EIN:

Sole Proprietor includes individuals who are in business for themselves and household employers.

Partnerships includes partnerships and joint ventures.

Corporations includes S corporations, personal service corporations, real estate investment trusts (REIT), regulated investment conduits (RIC), and settlement funds.

Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a structure allowed by state statute and is formed by filing articles of organization with the state.

Estate is a legal entity created as a result of a person’s death.

Trusts includes conservatorships, custodianships, guardianships, irrevocable trusts, revocable trusts, and receiverships.

View Additional Types if none of the above fit what you are establishing.

Click “Continue.”

Screen Three

This screen asks you to further identify your type of legal structure. For example, if you mark the circle next to “Sole Proprietor,” this screen asks you to indicate if you have a business or if you hire household help and to confirm your choice.

If you mark View Additional Types, the next screen gives you a list of other entities to choose from. Then you choose, identify, and confirm.

Click on “Continue.”

Screen Four

Mark the reason that you are requesting an EIN:

  • Started a new business
  • Hired Employees
  • Banking Purposes
  • Changed Type of Organization
  • Purchased Active Business

Click on “Continue.”

Screen Five

Mark Individual or Existing Business as the responsible party.

Click on “Continue.”

Screen Six

Identify the responsible party.

Please note: For screens from here on, the form only recognizes a hyphen (-) or ampersand (&) as punctuation. Do not use periods, commas, etc. For example, if a name contains an apostrophe (‘), delete the apostrophe.

Enter your first name, middle name (optional), and last name. Add a suffix with the drop down menu.

Enter your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

Mark if you are responsible as a member or officer of the organization

OR if you are a third party acting on behalf of the organization.

Click on “Continue.”

Screen Seven

Enter the address of the organization. (It must be in the United States or a U.S. Territory.)

Street, City, State/Territory, ZIP code, Phone Number

If mail should be directed to a specific person or department, enter the name.

Mark Yes or No: Do you want the mail sent to some other address than that which you entered on this screen?

Click on “Continue.”

If you marked yes above, the next screen with ask for the other address. Enter.

Click on “Continue.”

If you marked no, you will go directly to Screen Eight.

Screen Eight

Enter the legal name of the organization.

If applicable, enter the “Doing Business As” (DBA) name.

Enter the County in which the organization is located, then the State or Territory.

Enter Month and Year that the organization started.

Click on “Continue.”

Screen Nine

There are five questions pertaining to your organization. The answers are all NO for the large majority of applicants.

Screen Ten

Mark the category that best describes your organization. Mark only one.

  • Construction
  • Real estate
  • Rental & leasing
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation & warehousing
  • Finance & insurance
  • Health care & social assistance
  • Accommodation & food services
  • Wholesale-agent/broker
  • Wholesale-other
  • Retail
  • Other

If you are unsure, click on the category to clarify what it includes.

If you choose “Other,” the next screen gives you more choices. If your answer is still “Other,” enter your description into the space provided.

Click on “Continue.”

Screen Eleven

Mark if you want to receive your confirmation letter online (You will need Adobe Reader and can download from that screen.) OR if you want to receive it by mail.

Screen Twelve

There is a summary of the information that you provided. Check it over well.

If there is an error or errors, you have to start from the beginning.

If it is all accurate, click on “Submit.”

Wait a few minutes.

The next screen will be “Congratulations” and your EIN number.

Print the page for your records.

Then, “Click here for your confirmation letter.”

UNLESS

You receive a message: “We are unable to provide you with an EIN.”  This is called an

“Error Code 101” for future reference. Don’t panic. Many people receive them. The reasons differ according to the type of your organization.

In general, you receive an error message if:

  • The application contains the most minor typo of any kind, but particularly if you used one of the “banned” characters, such as a period.
  • The name of your organization is too similar to that of another organization.
  • You are already listed as the responsible party on an online EIN application that was approved.

Unfortunately, it can be tedious remedying the situation.

When you call the phone number provided, be prepared (and have the time) to wait on hold for a long time and/or go through a web of departments and representatives to get to someone who can help you.

Be prepared to give accurate and concise information. Start by referring to Error Code 101.

You may have to provide the IRS with additional information on your organization.

You may have to apply for the EIN via fax or mail.

You need to document your phone calls and the representative(s) that you spoke with.

The moral to the story is to check over your application and check it again to avoid the hassle of needing to deal with the IRS! And research the organization’s name thoroughly to ensure it is unique.

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