As part of a business, you will need to get your company an EIN. The IRS provides these numbers, known as the Employer Identification Number. It also goes by Employer ID and other names. Every business has its own unique EIN and it is used for tax returns. EINs are also crucial for separating the owner's private assets from the business's assets. To make the concept of an EIN simpler, just think of this as being a business's version of an SSN.
Once you form an LLC, you will typically apply for the EIN right away. At the very least, this should be among your first actions following the LLC formation.
Set Aside Some Time
Make sure that you have a reasonable chunk of time set aside to apply for your EIN. This process is done online and you cannot return to your application if you close it. To supplement this, the application form automatically closes if you are inactive for at least 15 minutes.
Preparing for the Application
You should also take a few minutes to ensure you qualify for an EIN before beginning the process. The person who applies for the EIN on behalf of the business must have an SSN, or an ITIN, EIN, or other taxpayer ID. Additionally, the business must be inside the United States or the US territories.
Finding the Form
The application to obtain an EIN is exactly where you would expect it to be, on the official IRS website. Visit the page's file tab and look at the popular options. You should see EIN there.
Filling Out the Application
There will be a page of recommendations and advice from the IRS before you can actually start filling out the form. Make sure you actually read this information as it can prevent future issues. Similarly, pay attention to the warning indicating the IRS has the ability to monitor your online activity during the time you complete the form.
Then, you can start the application, following the on-screen instructions. As you go through the application, you will fill out the following information, among other details:
- The business structure.
- Location of the company (state).
- Number of employees.
- Reason for the EIN application (such as starting a business or banking).
- The business's responsible party with a tax ID.
- Details of the individual responsible (full name and SSN or similar).
- Business's legal name and trade name.
- Business's detailed location (state and county).
Then, you will have to answer even more questions. These include yes/no questions as well as those that ask you to choose from categories. Throughout the process, there will be various confirmation screens. Make sure to check the information as you enter it and on the confirmation screens.
The last step is to choose if you want your EIN confirmation letter online or via traditional mail. In the case of a mailed letter, it will arrive at your business’s registered address. Your registered agent should forward the letter to you immediately and possibly provide a scan of it in the meantime.