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All About Your Employer ID Number (EIN)


Every business that has employees must have an employer ID number (EIN), but even if you have no employees, you will probably need to have an EIN as you start your business. How and where to apply for an EIN, how to change or cancel your EIN, and other important facts about EINs are included in this article.

1. What is an Employer ID Number (EIN)?

An Employer ID Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number in the form xx-xxxxxxx.  It is used for tax and identification purposes for most businesses.

2. What is an EIN Used For?

An EIN is required in most business tax and financial transactions.  If you go to a bank to open a business checking account, you will need an EIN.  Federal and state income taxes, state sales taxes, and federal employment tax forms all require an EIN.

3. What is the Difference Between an EIN and a Taxpayer ID Number?

The terms "EIN," "employer ID," "Tax ID," and "taxpayer ID" are tossed around loosely, but there are distinct differences between these terms. The IRS has very specific definitions and you should know what they mean.

4. Does My New Business Need an EIN?

Your new business may need an Employer ID Number (EIN) if you have employees or if you file certain kinds of taxes, if your business is taxed as a corporation or partnership, and other circumstances. Read more and see if you need to get an EIN.

5. How Do I Complete the EIN Application on Form SS-4?

You may apply for an EIN using IRS Form SS-4. This article describes the process step-by-step and includes a list of information you will need before you apply.

6. What are the 4 Ways to Apply for an EIN? Which is Best?

You can apply for an Employer ID Number (EIN) online, by phone, by mail, or by fax. This article describes the details for the application process for each type. The online and phone applications will give you an EIN immediately, while the fax and mail applications will require you to wait to receive your EIN in the mail.

7. When Do I Need a New EIN?

If you are making changes to your business, you may need a new EIN. This article lists the circumstances when you must change your EIN and those when you should not make this change.

8. How Do I Change an EIN?

If you made a mistake on your EIN or you submitted the wrong person as the responsible party in item 3, you will need to send in a change request letter to the appropriate IRS location.  Read about the details of the letter and the location, depending on where your business is located.

9. How Do I Cancel an EIN?

Once your business has an EIN, it remains with that business forever. But you can cancel an EIN if you close, change, or sell your business. Here is a discussion of how to close your account with the IRS in these circumstances.

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