Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service. Beware of websites on the Internet that charge for this free service.
If you are a home-care service recipient who has a previously assigned EIN either as a sole proprietor or as a household employer, do not apply for a new EIN. Use the EIN previously provided. If you can not locate your EIN for any reason, follow the instructions on the Lost or Misplaced Your EIN? Web page.
The Internet EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN. Once the application is completed, the information is validated during the online session, and an EIN is issued immediately. The online application process is available for all entities whose principal business, office or agency, or legal residence (in the case of an individual), is located in the United States or U.S. Territories. The principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor etc. must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (Social Security Number, Employer Identification Number, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) in order to use the online application.
Apply by Fax
Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 (PDF) application to the appropriate fax number (see Where to File Your Taxes (for Form SS-4)), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information. If it is determined that the entity needs a new EIN, one will be assigned using the appropriate procedures for the entity type. If the taxpayer's fax number is provided, a fax will be sent back with the EIN within four (4) business days.
Apply by Mail
The processing timeframe for an EIN application received by mail is four weeks. Ensure that the Form SS-4 (PDF) contains all of the required information. If it is determined that the entity needs a new EIN, one will be assigned using the appropriate procedures for the entity type and mailed to the taxpayer. Find out where to mail Form SS-4 on the Where to File Your Taxes (for Form SS-4) page.
Apply by Telephone – International Applicants
International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN. The person making the call must be authorized to receive the EIN and answer questions concerning the Form SS-4 (PDF), Application for Employer Identification Number. Complete the Third Party Designee section only if you want to authorize the named individual to receive the entity’s EIN and answer questions about the completion of Form SS-4. The designee’s authority terminates at the time the EIN is assigned and released to the designee. You must complete the signature area for the authorization to be valid.
Other Important Information
Daily Limitation of an Employer Identification Number
Effective May 21, 2012, to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service will limit Employer Identification Number (EIN) issuance to one per responsible party per day. This limitation is applicable to all requests for EINs whether online or by fax or mail. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
In order to identify the correct individuals and entities applying for EINs, language changes have been made to the EIN process. Refer to Responsible Parties and Nominees to learn about these important changes before applying for an EIN.
Third Party Authorization
The Third Party Designee section must be completed at the bottom of the Form SS-4. The Form SS-4 must also be signed by the taxpayer for the third party designee authorization to be valid. The Form SS-4 must be mailed or faxed to the appropriate service center. The third party designee's authority extends to "newly" assigned EINs only and terminates at the time the EIN is assigned and released to the designee.
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If you are unfamiliar with the Online EIN application, you may find this section helpful in answering your questions.
Q. When can I use my Internet EIN to make tax payments or file returns?
A. This EIN is your permanent number and can be used immediately for most of your business needs, including:
- Opening a bank account
- Applying for business licenses
- Filing a tax return by mail
However, it will take up to two weeks before your EIN becomes part of the IRS's permanent records. You must wait until this occurs before you can:
- File an electronic return
- Make an electronic payment
- Pass an IRS Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) matching program
Q. Sometimes I don't know all the information required on the application. Why do I have to complete the application online when I can send in paper or fax with missing information?
A. When paper or faxed Forms SS-4 are received by the IRS with information missing, additional time is needed to process that application, delaying the issuance of your Employer Identification Number. Applicants can get their EIN much quicker if all the required information is completed.
Q. The legal name of my business includes the symbol for a dollar sign ($). Does the IRS accept symbols as part of a business name?
A. No. The only characters IRS systems can accept in a business name are: 1) alpha (A-Z), 2) numeric (0-9), 3) hyphen (-), and 4) ampersand (&). If the legal name of your business includes anything other than those listed above, you will need to decide how best to enter your business name into the online EIN application. Following are some suggestions:
|If your legal name contains:||Then:|
|A symbol or character, such as a “plus” symbol (+), “at” symbol (@), or a period (.)||1) Spell out the symbol or 2) drop the symbol and leave a space. Example: If the legal name of your business is Jones.Com, then input it as Jones Dot Com or Jones Com|
|Backward (\) or forward (/) slash||Substitute a hyphen (-)|
|Apostrophe (')||Drop the apostrophe and do not leave a space.|
Q. What do I do if my entire address won't fit on your address line on the Internet application?
A. IRS systems only allow 35 characters on the street address line. If your address does not fit in 35 characters, please make sure you provide the most essential address information (i.e., apartment numbers, suite numbers, etc). We’ll then validate the address you’ve provided with the United States Postal Service’s database and offer you an opportunity to make any changes to the address, if necessary.
Q. Are any entity types excluded from applying for an EIN over the Internet?
A. No. All customers whose principal business, office or agency, or legal residence (in the case of an individual) is located in the United States or in one of the U.S. Territories can apply for an EIN online. The principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor etc. must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (Social Security Number, Employer Identification Number, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) in order to use the online application.
If you were incorporated outside of the United States or the U.S. territories, you cannot apply for an EIN online. Please call us at (267) 941-1099 (this is not a toll free number) between the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Q. What if I forget the number I obtained over the Internet?
A. IRS records will be updated immediately with your EIN. Simply call (800) 829-4933 and select EIN from the list of options. Once connected with an IRS employee, tell the assistor you received an EIN from the Internet but can't remember it. The IRS employee will ask the necessary disclosure and security questions prior to providing the number.
Q. Do all the EINs obtained on the Internet start with 20, 26, 27, 45, 46, 47, 81 or 82?
A. Yes. The unique prefixes (20, 26, 27, 45, 46, 47, 81, or 82) identify the EIN as a number issued via the internet. Note: We cannot process your application online if the responsible party is an entity with an EIN previously obtained through the Internet. Please use one of our other methods to apply. See How to Apply for an EIN. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
Q. Do I need a certain computer or software to obtain an EIN over the Internet?
A. No. You can go to IRS.gov through any computer that has Internet access. You should have a current Internet browser, which will allow you to view and complete the application process. However, you will need Adobe Reader installed if you would like to receive a confirmation letter online.
Q. Now that I have my EIN, when can I use it to make tax deposits?
A. Based on the information you submit on your application or if you indicate you will have employees, you will automatically be enrolled in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System—EFTPS—so you can make all your deposits online or by phone. Within a few days you will receive by mail your EFTPS enrollment confirmation, as well as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and complete instructions for using EFTPS. You will need to wait until you receive your EFTPS information in the mail before you can make a payment electronically. Once you receive your EFTPS Confirmation Package, you can begin making EFTPS payments.
EFTPS is a service provided free by the U.S. Department of the Treasury that allows individual and business taxpayers to initiate all Federal tax payments using the Internet or phone. You can input your tax payments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using a secure government website or an automated voice response phone system. Refer to Publication 4275, EFTPS Express Enrollment for New Businesses for additional information about EFTPS.
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