How to Get an Iowa EIN Number (for Free)
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We know dealing with the IRS can be intimidating, but getting an EIN for your LLC doesn’t have to be scary.

This page explains what an EIN is and we provide step-by-step instructions on getting an EIN for free for an Iowa LLC.

What is an EIN Number?

EIN Number for an LLC

EIN stands for Employer Identification Number and is assigned to your LLC by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a division within the federal government.

The EIN identifies your business to the IRS, the same way a Social Security Number identifies a person. You could also think of the EIN as your “account number” with the IRS.

Note: An EIN is not issued by the Iowa Secretary of State. It is only issued by the IRS.

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Have an LLC, but no EIN? Hire Northwest to get your EIN:
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EIN Synonyms

You might see your EIN Number referred to in many different ways. They all mean the same thing, though.

Other terms for an EIN include:

  • EIN Number
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Federal Tax ID Numbers
  • Iowa Federal Tax ID Number
  • Federal Tax Identification Number

Note: An EIN Number is not the same thing as an Iowa Tax ID Number. An EIN is issued by the IRS. And an Iowa Tax ID Number is issued by the Iowa Department of Revenue.

What’s an EIN used for?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used by several different government agencies to identify your LLC.

Having an EIN for your Iowa Limited Liability Company lets you:

  • Open an LLC business bank account
  • File federal taxes, Iowa state tax, and local tax returns
  • File Iowa income tax
  • Register for sales tax
  • Obtain business lines of credit or business loans
  • Get a business credit card for your LLC
  • Apply for business licenses or permits
  • Register with Iowa Workforce Development (if you have employees)
  • Handle employee payroll (if applicable)

How much does it cost to get an EIN?

Applying for an EIN for your Iowa LLC is completely free. The IRS doesn’t charge any service fees for the EIN online application.

When should you get an EIN?

Don’t apply for an EIN until your Iowa LLC is approved.

Tip: If you applied for an EIN before your LLC is approved, or made another mistake, please see our FAQs below. We explain how to fix the most common EIN mistakes.

How do I file an EIN Application for my Iowa LLC?

Important: Make sure you finalize how many LLC Members you have before you apply for an EIN. Changing from a Single-Member LLC to a Multi-Member LLC (or vice versa) requires filing paperwork with the IRS and the state. Additionally, you’ll need to transfer LLC ownership, amend your Operating Agreement, and update your accountant (since your tax filing will change).

Note: An LLC doesn’t stand for Limited Liability Corporation. It stands for Limited Liability Company.

Apply for an EIN (US Citizens and US Residents)

We recommend applying for an EIN online if you have a SSN (Social Security Number) or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

This is the easiest filing method and it has the fastest approval time. Your EIN Number will be issued at the end of the online application, which takes about 15 minutes to complete.

We have step-by-step instructions on this page:

How to apply for an EIN online

Note: You can also apply for an EIN by mail or fax, but this is really slow compared to the online filing. We only recommend this if you get an error message (called an EIN reference number) and the IRS says that you have to.

Apply for an EIN (Non-US residents)

If you’re a non-US resident (and don’t have an SSN or ITIN), you can still get an EIN for your Iowa LLC. You just can’t apply for a Federal tax EIN online.

Instead, you need to mail or fax Form SS-4 to the IRS. The SS-4 is the application form. We have step-by-step instructions on this page:

How to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN

Note: If you’ve read somewhere that you have to hire a third party designee, this is not true. You can obtain your EIN yourself without using a third party designee.

EIN Approval (EIN Confirmation Letter)

Once the IRS issues an EIN for your Iowa LLC, you will receive your official approval, known as an EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575).

The method you use to apply for an EIN will determine how you receive your EIN Confirmation Letter. If you apply online, you can download the EIN Confirmation Letter at the end. If you mail or fax SS-4, the IRS mails your EIN Confirmation Letter.

Here is what the EIN Confirmation Letter looks like:

EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575) for LLC

LLC Business Bank Account

After getting an EIN, you can open a business bank account for your Iowa LLC. The bank will need your EIN Confirmation Letter (or EIN Verification Letter) to open the account.

Please see business bank account for LLC for a list of recommended banks (and the documents you should bring).

If you’re a non-US resident, you can still open a US bank account for your LLC. Please see this page: Non-US resident opening US bank account for an LLC

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Contact Information

If you have any questions, you can call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-829-4933. Their office hours are 7am – 7pm, Monday through Friday.

Use these options to speak to a live person:

  • Press option 1 for English.
  • Then press option 1 for Employer Identification Numbers.
  • Then press option 3 for “If you already have an EIN, but you can’t remember it, etc.”

Note: Pressing option 3 is the only way to get a live person.

We recommend calling the IRS right after they open to avoid long hold times.

The IRS won’t give you legal assistance, legal or tax advice, but they will answer questions about the EIN application process.

EIN Frequently Asked Questions

You may have seen other articles online say that Single-Member LLCs don’t need an EIN. While this is technically true, it’s bad advice.

Having an EIN can protect you from identity theft, and you’ll need an EIN for other purposes – not just filing taxes. Your Iowa LLC needs an EIN to:

  • Open an LLC business bank account
  • Obtain business lines of credit or business loans
  • Get a business credit card
  • Apply for business licenses or permits
  • Handle employee payroll (if applicable)

Plus, getting an EIN is free and takes just 10 minutes online. Said another way, we strongly recommend getting an EIN for your Single-Member LLC.

Yes, all Multi-Member LLCs are required to get an EIN from the IRS. This is because it’s required by the Internal Revenue Code.
No. A DBA can’t have an EIN. Remember, a DBA is just a nickname for a business or a person(s).

However, the business or person(s) that owns the DBA may need an EIN.

DBA owned by an LLC

If you have an LLC, your LLC needs its own EIN.

If your LLC has a DBA, don’t get an EIN for the DBA. The DBA is just a nickname for your LLC, and the IRS doesn’t recognize DBAs.

DBA owned by individual(s)

If you registered a DBA, but didn’t form a legal entity (like an LLC), then you’re operating a Sole Proprietorship (1 owner) or a General Partnership (2 or more owners).

Sole Proprietorship: Your Iowa Sole Proprietorship (with or without a DBA) isn’t required to have an EIN, but it’s optional.

General Partnership: Your Iowa General Partnership (with or without a DBA) must get an EIN. It’s required by the IRS.

Again, in both cases, the DBA itself doesn’t get the EIN. It’s the underlying business entity that gets the EIN.

Yes, you should still get an EIN for your Iowa business even if you don’t hire employees.

Even though it’s called an Employer Identification Number, it doesn’t mean you have to have employees. Again, the EIN Number is just a way for the IRS to identify your business.

(Note: If you are the only owner in your business, you are not considered an employee. You are simply the owner.)

In most states, husband and wife LLCs can only be treated as a Multi-Member LLC taxed as a Partnership.

However, in community property states, married couples can choose between:

  • Husband and wife LLC taxed as a Partnership
  • Husband and wife LLC taxed as a Single-Member LLC (aka Qualified Joint Venture)

Iowa is not a community property state. So Iowa husband and wife LLCs can’t choose to be taxed as a Qualified Joint Venture (Single-Member LLC).

How you complete your EIN application determines the LLC’s tax status. For more information, please see Husband and Wife LLC (Qualified Joint Venture).

Common EIN mistakes and how to fix them

If you lose your EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575), or forget to download it online, you can’t get another one.

However, you can request an EIN Verification Letter (147C), and you can use that instead.

Both forms are accepted by everyone (including banks and the state government).

No, just getting an EIN from the IRS doesn’t form an LLC. LLCs aren’t formed with the IRS. They are formed with your state.

You are supposed to form an LLC in your state, and then apply for an EIN (aka Federal Tax ID Number).

If you’ve been operating your business by having an EIN and have not formed an LLC, you have unknowingly been operating as a Sole Proprietorship and the EIN is “attached” to you, personally.

Said another way, the EIN is not connected to your company – because the company (the LLC) hasn’t been formed.

If you want to have your company be an LLC: First, form an LLC, wait for it to be approved, and then apply for a new EIN. Later you can cancel your first EIN.

If your LLC gets approved (using the name you listed on your EIN application), there is nothing to worry about. As long as the name on your EIN Confirmation Letter matches your LLC name, then you can use that EIN for your LLC.

If your LLC is rejected, then you need to refile with the state and wait for your new LLC name to be approved. Then get a new EIN from the IRS. And cancel the old EIN.

If you need to cancel your EIN Number, you need to mail a cancellation letter to the IRS.

We have instructions and the cancellation letter here: How to cancel an EIN.

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

11 comments on “Iowa Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. If in my state my SMLLC moves to Disregarded Entity how does that effect me and will the personally assets stay separate if I leave it like this.

    Reply
    • Hi Greg, by default, your single-member LLC is already a disregard entity with the IRS. This doesn’t affect your personal asset protection at all. It’s simply a “tax entity” name used by the IRS. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  2. I sent a question on May 3rd and never received a reply. My next question, when file for EIN it said it automatically make a single partner a sole proprietor and that is what I want. What can be done.

    Reply
    • Hi Greg, I don’t fully understand your question. Can you please rephrase it? Thank you.

      Reply
  3. Hi Matt, I already have an EIN (sole proprietor) from a few years ago but am now creating an LLC. Do I need to apply for another EIN or is my current okay to continue using with LLC?

    Reply
    • Hi Melissa, we recommend getting a new EIN (since it only takes 15 minutes) to keep records more organized and it’s easier. If your LLC will just have 1 Member, you can use the same EIN, but you have to send a letter to the IRS. However, if your LLC will have 2 or more Members, you must get a new EIN. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  4. Matt
    Many thanks to you for providing this site. very helpful.
    One quick question. I am currently a sole proprietor with a EIN different from my SSN for my insurance agency 1099 income. I do have a W-2 income as well. that income of course reports to my SSN. I am planning on starting an LLC in 2019. Will I need discontinue my current EIN # after 2018 assuming that I will need to apply for a new EIN for my LLC.

    One other question.. Since I am wanting to make my LLC effective on 1-1-2019, do I date the Certificate of Organization form the day I submit it–next few days or do I sign 1-1-2019 on the form?
    Thanks again!
    Jay

    Reply
    • Hey Jay! You’re very welcome. I’d leave the existing EIN open until you file a final return. So if you file your final 2018 return (in April 2019), then you can cancel the EIN sometime later in 2019. No rush on that part though. And yes, once your Iowa LLC is approved, then you can can apply for a new EIN. The cancellation of the existing one (meaning whether you cancel or not) has no impact on the new EIN for your LLC. And yes, in Iowa, you change the LLC effective date via Date of Execution in your Certificate of Organization. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  5. I came across your site and am beyond thankful. You make starting an LLC much easier. I do happen to have a question. Do you have to be 18 to start an LLC in Iowa? My daughter wants to start an LLC under her name. How would you go about it?

    Reply
    • Hi Mi, that’s wonderful to hear! The Iowa LLC Act doesn’t require that an LLC Member or LLC Organizer be over 18 years of age, so your daughter can file her own LLC (or hire a company to file it) and be the LLC owner. There is a bit of a “gray area” regarding minors and their ability to make and break contracts, however, most people don’t let that stop them. Hope that helps :)

      Reply

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