Last updated October 28, 2020

How to Apply for an EIN for your LLC with the IRS (Online)

Also known as: How to Apply for a Federal Tax ID Number for an LLC

This lesson is about how to get an EIN for an LLC, not another type of business or trust. Also, you can only apply for an EIN online if you have a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you don’t have an SSN or ITIN, you can still obtain an EIN for your LLC. Please see instructions here: how to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN.

LLC Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)

Skip ahead: If you’ve already read what is an EIN, feel free to skip ahead to 4:10.

Note: The video above shows obtaining an EIN for an LLC in Florida, however, the steps will be similar regardless of which state you formed your LLC in. Also, this video is a few years old and a few things have changed with the online EIN Application. Please read this entire lesson before applying for an EIN for your LLC.

Video Transcript:

The following information is provided for educational purposes only and in no way constitutes legal, tax, or financial advice. For legal, tax, or financial advice specific to your business needs, we encourage you to consult with a licensed attorney and/or CPA in your state. The following information is copyright protected. No part of this lesson may be redistributed, copied, modified or adapted without prior written consent of the author. An EIN or Employer Identification Number is issued by the IRS to business entities. It is also known as a Federal Tax ID Number or TIN (Tax ID Number), but for this video we will refer to it as the EIN. An EIN is to a business what a Social Security Number is to an individual. It basically identifies your business, or company to the IRS. Even though it is called an Employer Identification Number, it does not mean that you have to have employees. EINs are used for: opening business checking, savings or investment accounts; filing taxes; handling employee payroll (if applicable); obtaining business lines of credit for business loans; obtaining credit cards in the name of the LLC; and applying for business licenses. Please wait until your LLC is approved by the State before obtaining your EIN. You do not want to have any issues with an EIN assigned to the wrong LLC. An EIN is similar to a Social Security Number in that it has 9 digits. To differentiate an EIN from an SSN, there are 2 digits followed by a hyphen and then 7 more digits. Applying for an EIN is a free service provided by the IRS. This is what other websites charge between $75-150 for. We will show you how to obtain your EIN for free and in under 15 minutes. The EIN can be obtained in 3 ways: by mail, by fax, or via the IRS’s online application. Since obtaining an EIN by fax takes 4 days and by mail can take up to 4 weeks, we will focus on the online application. Again, the online application is the quickest route. Your EIN will be issued immediately after you answer all the questions in the online application. You will then be able to download, save, and print your new Employer Identification Number, as well as your confirmation letter. You will need to have the member(s)’ SSNs or ITINs ready before you begin the online application. If you are a US citizen, you will use your SSN or Social Security Number. If you are a foreign national, you will use your ITIN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. If you are a foreign national and you do not yet have your ITIN, you’ll first need to apply for the ITIN before applying for and obtaining your EIN. If you are a foreign national and you need to apply for your ITIN, please contact the IRS at the link below this video. You are about to watch an application for an EIN for a Single-Member LLC in the State of Florida. Do not worry if this is not the state in which you formed your LLC, and also do not worry if you are a Multi-Member LLC (with 2 or more members). The online application is pretty much the same regardless if you are a Single-Member LLC or if you are a Multi-Member LLC, or regardless of the state in which you formed your LLC. The EIN application is a federal tax procedure and is not state-specific. If you have any questions, or if there are any error messages that appear during your EIN online application, please contact the IRS. There’s a link below this video where you will find their phone number. You are now ready to apply for your EIN. Let’s head over to the IRS’s website. The link below this video will take you to the online application. Let’s get started. Here we are at the irs.gov. Online EIN Application. You’re going to scroll down towards the bottom of the page and click “APPLY ONLINE NOW”. Next, click “Begin Application”. On this page, select “Limited Liability Company” and then click “Continue”. Click “Continue” again, and on this page enter the number of members of the LLC. For this example, there is 1. You’re next going to select the state where your LLC is located. In this example, this is a Florida Limited Liability Company. Next, click “Continue”. Hit “Continue” again. Select the 1st option (“Started a new business”), hit “Continue”. On the next page, select “Individual” and hit “Continue”. You will next enter your name, and Social Security Number, and then select “I am one of the owners, members, or the managing member of this LLC” and then hit “Continue”. On the next page, you will enter your Principal LLC Address. This is also where the LLC is physically located. If you have a Mailing Address that is different than the Principal Address, then at the bottom you’re going to select “Yes” and on the next page you’ll be able to enter your Mailing Address. After you enter the LLC’s address and phone number, click “Continue”. The next page is a physical location verification. This is simply the IRS just cross-referencing your address via the database. You can click “Accept Database Version”. On the next page, you’re going to enter the legal name of the LLC, as well as the county and state it is located, as well as the state it is organized in. The state where your LLC is located in the state where it is organized will most likely be the same. 2 important things to remember when entering your LLC’s name: make sure to include the suffix “LLC” and do not enter a comma. For this example, let’s use “Rob’s Bakery LLC”. I will enter the name as follows: you will next enter the LLC’s “start date”. This is going to be the same date you’ve used in your LLC’s Operating Agreement and will also be the date in which you received your documents back from the State. Once you’ve entered all of your information, click “Continue”. There’s a few questions here they’re going to ask. For me, all of these are “No”. Take a quick read-through here and see if anything applies to you, regarding whether or not you manufacture, sell alcohol, tobacco, gambling, you know, I have a truck over 55,000 lbs, etcetera. The majority of cases it will be “No” but make sure you take a quick read-through. This questionnaire, select “Yes” or “No” and then hit “Continue”. On this page, they’d like to know what your business does. This is going to be the same thing you filled out in your Operating Agreement. In my case, this is a consulting company. What I’m going to do is I’m going to scroll down to the bottom and select “Other”. However, take a look at the categories and make sure that you put yours in the correct category. Once you’ve done so, hit “Continue”. Because I’ve selected “Other” on the 2nd page, I’m going to select “Consulting”. You’ll see how they have “Manufacturing, Organization, Rental, Repair, Goods”, etcetera. I’m going to hit “Continue”. It says “Do you provide operating advice and assistance to businesses and other organizations?” I’m going to select “Yes” and type in “general business consulting”, then hit “Continue”. On this page, they ask “How would you like to receive your EIN confirmation letter?” You can receive it by mail, or you can receive it online. Most likely you want to receive it online (takes 4 weeks to arrive by mail). Simply hit “Receive letter online”. In a few pages you’ll be able to print and save a PDF version of your confirmation letter. This page is simply a review, take a quick scroll through and make sure everything is correct. Once so, you’re going to hit “Submit”. Here is the confirmation page, where you will see your EIN assigned and the legal name of your business. It says “Important: Save and/or print this page and the confirmation letter below for your permanent records”, so I’m going to go up here and select “File Print”, just to select here and you’ll see this link here. I’m going to click that and I’m going to save that PDF file to my computer, and I’m also going to print it out. Once you are done, click “Continue”. Hit “Continue” again. And that concludes the Online Application for an Employer Identification Number. Make sure you save that PDF to your computer, and you print a copy for your records.

Online EIN Application for LLC

Hours: The EIN Online Application is only available Monday through Friday, from 7:00am to 10:00pm Eastern Time.

Reminder: The instructions below are only for people who have an SSN or an ITIN. If you are a foreigner and don’t have an SSN or ITIN, you can still get an EIN for your LLC. Please see the instructions here: how to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN.

Get started:

Visit the EIN for LLC Online Application:
https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online

• Click the blue “Apply Online Now” button in the middle of the page.

• Read through the important information and then click “Begin Application”.

1. Identify

What type of legal structure is applying for an EIN?

Select “Limited Liability Company” and then click “Continue”.

Apply for EIN LLC Online Type of Structure

You have chosen Limited Liability Company.

This page explains what an LLC is and what an LLC is not. Please read over the information and then click “Continue”.

Apply for EIN LLC Online Chosen Limited Liability Company

Tell us more about the members of the Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Enter the total number of LLC Members. Then select the state where your LLC was formed and click “Continue”.

Note: LLCs can be taxed by the IRS a few different ways. By default, LLCs with 1 member will be taxed like a Sole Proprietorship. And by default, LLCs with 2 or more members will be taxed like a Partnership. If you want your LLC to be taxed like a C-Corporation or an S-Corporation, you’ll do that with a separate form after the EIN is approved (we’ll discuss this later on). Additionally, how your LLC is taxed by the IRS has nothing to do with your LLC’s liability protection. Your personal assets will still be protected regardless of how your LLC is taxed by the IRS.

Apply for EIN LLC Online Members

Husband & Wife LLCs in Community Property States

If you select 2 members and are forming an LLC in a community property state, the IRS will then ask you how you’d like to be taxed and whether or not you want to be a Qualified Joint Venture LLC.

Apply for EIN LLC Online Husband and Wife

A Qualified Joint Venture LLC is when an LLC is formed in a community property state, the only owners are the husband and wife, and they file a joint tax return, they may elect to treat the LLC as being owned as one “legal unit”, meaning the LLC can choose to be taxed as a Sole Proprietorship (instead of a Partnership). So by making this election, the married couple will not be required to file a 1065 Partnership Return, but will instead report income, losses, credits, and deductions directly on their joint tax return.

You’ll see the following:

Apply for EIN LLC Online Qualified Joint Venture

• If you select “multi-member LLC”, your husband and wife LLC will be taxed as a Partnership, which is not a Qualified Joint Venture.

• If you select “single-member LLC”, your husband and wife LLC will be taxed as a Sole Proprietorship, which is a Qualified Joint Venture.

Please confirm your selection:

This page will confirm and explain the IRS tax classification for your LLC.

• If you have a Single-Member LLC, the IRS will treat your LLC as a “disregarded entity” and the LLC will be taxed like a Sole Proprietorship. Keep in mind, this has nothing to do with your liability protection. You are still operating as an LLC and have its full personal liability protection. The IRS is just taxing it like a Sole Proprietorship. Your LLC’s income will “pass through” to your personal tax return, known as Form 1040, and your income will be reported on a Schedule C, E, or F. You’ll see the following message:

Apply for EIN LLC Online Confirm Single Member

• If you have a Multi-Member LLC, the IRS will tax your LLC like a Partnership. Keep in mind, this has nothing to do with your liability protection. You are still operating as an LLC and have its full personal liability protection. The IRS is just taxing it like a Partnership. Your LLC’s income will “pass through” to your personal tax return (on Form 1040), but you’ll also need to file a 1065 Partnership Return and issue a K-1 to each LLC Member. You’ll see the following message:

Apply for EIN LLC Online Confirm Multi-Member

Note:
You’ll see a message stating that if you do not want to accept the LLC’s default tax classification, you can file Form 8832 and have your LLC taxed as a C-Corporation, or, more popularly, you can file Form 2553 and have your LLC taxed as an S-Corporation. Please note, that even if you plan on filing either of these forms, you’ll need to continue through the process of the online EIN application, and after your EIN is approved, you can then file Form 8832 or Form 2553. But make sure you speak to an accountant regarding which method of taxation is best for your LLC. For people starting out (earning less than $50,000 per year), it usually won’t make sense to have your LLC taxed as an S-Corporation or a C-Corporation, however, as mentioned, please speak with an accountant.

Why is the LLC requesting an EIN?

Most people select “Started a new business” and then click “Continue”.

Apply for EIN LLC Online Started Business

2. Authenticate

Who is the Responsible Party for the LLC?

The EIN Responsible Party is going to be an LLC Member or Manager who has the authority to control the LLC’s money and assets. This person should also be the one who will make sure that the LLC takes care of any tax filings necessary with the IRS.

(related article: difference between an LLC Member and LLC Manager)

If you have a Multi-Member LLC, you only need one person as the EIN Responsible Party. The IRS doesn’t need the contact information for all of your LLC Members (and/or Managers) on the EIN Application. Instead, the 1065 Partnership Return that is filed later will identify all the LLC Members.

Contact Person:

Another way to think of the EIN Responsible Party is that it’s the LLC’s “contact person” for the IRS. The IRS will send mail and correspondence to this person, either providing information to the LLC or requesting information from the LLC.

Must have SSN or ITIN:

In order to complete the online EIN Application, the EIN Responsible Party must have an SSN (Social Security Number) or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

If the EIN Responsible Party is a foreigner and doesn’t have an ITIN or SSN, you can still get an EIN for your LLC, you just can’t get it online. Instead, you need to file form SS-4 by mail or fax. We have instructions here: how to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN.

Individual or Existing Business:

Although the online EIN Application says “The Responsible Party of the LLC can either be an individual or an existing business“, this is no longer the case. The IRS made changes that went into effect in 2018. For more details, please see this article: Who can be the Responsible Party for your LLC?

If your LLC is owned by another company:

If your LLC is owned by another company (like another LLC or Corporation), the EIN Responsible Party must be an individual person and they must use their SSN or ITIN on the application.

You can’t list the parent company as the EIN Responsible Party and use its EIN (even though it looks like you can). If you do, you’ll get an error message at the end of the application.

(There is an exception to this rule though, and that is if the LLC applying for the EIN is a government entity. In that case, it is allowed to have its EIN Responsible Party be an entity. However, this is not applicable to 99% of our readers.)

Apply for EIN LLC Online Responsible Party

Please tell us about the Responsible Party of the LLC:

Enter your full name and your SSN or ITIN. Then select “I am one of the owners, members, or the managing member of this LLC“. Then click “Continue” to proceed.

Apply for EIN LLC Online Individual

ITIN Number: If you are entering your ITIN number, please note, that there is a 30-40% chance you will receive an error message (called a reference number) at the end of the EIN Application. There are many reasons this might happen. For example, your ITIN may not be established in the IRS system yet. If you receive an error message at the end, don’t worry, you can still get an EIN for your LLC. You just need to mail or fax in Form SS-4 instead. You can find instructions here: apply for EIN with Form SS-4.

3. Addresses

Where is the LLC physically located?

Enter your LLC’s physical address and your U.S. phone number.

The IRS will use this address to send your LLC any mail or correspondence.

The IRS rarely calls people, but in case they need to, use a reliable phone number where you can be reached. The number must be a U.S. telephone number. It can be a cell, home, or office number.

A P.O. Box address is not allowed. A physical street address must be entered.

Most filers list their home if they work from home or an office address if they work from an office. You can also can use a PMB (Private Mailbox Service) or a CMRA (Commercial Mail Receiving Agency) address if you have one.

Foreigners:

If you formed an LLC in the U.S., but you don’t actually have a physical location in the U.S., you can use the address of your Registered Agent (if they allow it). One such company that is “foreigner-friendly” and will let you use their address is Northwest Registered Agent.

Apply for EIN LLC Online Physical Location

Special characters:

The only special characters that are allowed in the address fields are a hyphen (-) and a forward slash (/). You can’t use the number sign (#), a comma, or a period.

For example, if your address is “123 Main Street, Apt. #3”, you’ll need to enter it as: “123 Main Street – Apt 3” or “123 Main Street Apt 3“.

Different Mailing Address:

If you want mail from the IRS to be sent to a different address than you entered, select “Yes” and enter that address on the next page. The IRS will use this address as your mailing address instead of the LLC’s physical location.

Verify your Physical Location:

If the following page appears, it just means the IRS is formatting your address to match up with the “standardized format” from the United States Postal Service. You can click “Accept Database Version” and then click “Continue”.

Apply for EIN LLC Online Verify Physical Location

4. Details

Tell us about the LLC:

Legal name of LLC:

Enter the full name of your LLC, but don’t use any periods or commas.

Even if your LLC was filed with the state using a comma, a period, or some other symbol, the IRS will only allow the use of a hyphen (-) and the ampersand symbol (&) in the name field.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t affect the legality of how your LLC filed with the state. It’s simply the IRS “normalizing” their records for their database. Again, it won’t impact the legal name of your LLC.

For example: If your LLC was formed with the name “ABC Widgets, LLC“, it must be entered as “ABC Widgets LLC“.

Symbols in your LLC name:

The IRS doesn’t allow most special characters in the name field. If your LLC name includes any of the symbols below, they will need to be replaced.

For example:
– replace “.” with “dot”
– replace “.com” with “dot com” (ex: MySite.com LLC becomes MySite dot com LLC)
– replace “+” with “plus”
– replace “@” with “at”
– replace a “/” or “” with “-”
– remove $ and related symbols
– remove the apostrophe (‘) and don’t use

Trade name/Doing business as:

This field can be left blank, unless your LLC has also filed a DBA (doing business as) name. Most filers leave this blank since their LLC will just operate using the legal name it was filed under.

If you previously had a Sole Proprietorship with a DBA, don’t enter that name here. That is not the same thing. Only enter a DBA if the DBA was filed after the LLC was formed and the DBA is owned by the LLC.

For more information on whether or not a DBA is needed for your LLC, please see here: Do I need to file a DBA for my LLC?

County where LLC is located:

A lot of people read this too fast and think it says “country” (like the USA). It doesn’t. It’s the county. Each U.S. state is divided into counties.

Enter the county where your LLC is located. If you’re not sure which county your address is in, you can use this tool.

State/Territory where LLC is located:

Enter the state where your LLC was formed.

State/Territory where Articles of Organization are (or will be) filed:

Enter the state where you filed your Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation.

For most filers, this field and the one above will be the same state.

Note: If you’re getting an EIN for a Foreign LLC the state names will be different.

LLC start date:

Enter the month and year that your LLC was approved. You can find this date on your LLC’s approved Articles of Organization, Certification of Organization, or Certification of Formation.

Apply for EIN LLC Online About the LLC

Tells us more about the LLC:

Read the questions carefully and select either “Yes” or “No”, then click “Continue”.

(Click the links below for explanations from the IRS)

• Does your business own a highway motor vehicle with a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more?

• Does your business involve gambling/wagering?

• Does your business need to file Form 720 (Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return)?

• Does your business sell or manufacture alcohol, tobacco, or firearms?

• Do you have, or do you expect to have, any employees who will receive Forms W-2 in the next 12 months? (Forms W-2 require additional filings with the IRS.)

Apply for EIN LLC Online More About the LLC

What does your business or organization do?

On the next page, select your LLC’s primary business purpose from the list of given choices.

If it does not fall in any of the choices provided, you can select “Other” and then specify your LLC’s business purpose on the next page. Once you’re done, click “Continue”.

5. EIN Confirmation

How would you like to receive your EIN Confirmation Letter?

We recommend selecting “Receive letter online” as this is the fastest way to receive your EIN Confirmation Letter.

Apply for EIN LLC Online Online or Mail

Summary of your information

Review the information you entered, then click “Submit” to finalize your application.

Apply for EIN LLC Online Review

Congratulations, the EIN for your LLC has been successfully assigned!

You’ll see a message confirming that an EIN has been successfully assigned to your LLC.

Important (make sure to download your EIN Confirmation Letter):

Click the blue download link to save and print a PDF copy of your EIN Confirmation Letter. Then click “Continue” twice to end your online application.

CP-575:

The technical name for your EIN Confirmation Letter for an LLC is the CP 575.

Again, make sure you download and save a few copies of this form.

The IRS will also mail you a duplicate copy, which will arrive in 4-5 weeks.

If you misplace the EIN Confirmation Letter, you can always call the IRS (1-800-829-4933) and request another letter. The IRS won’t be able to issue another CP 575, but that’s okay; they’ll issue another type of EIN letter called the EIN Verification Letter (147C).

The EIN Confirmation Letter is 2 pages. Here is what page 1 looks like:

IRS CP575 EIN Confirmation Letter for LLC Page 1

Page 2 has a “cut out”, but you don’t have to mail this into the IRS unless you are sending in a letter and making changes to your LLC’s EIN (which you might do at some point in the future).

Here is what the bottom of page 2 looks like:

IRS CP575 EIN Confirmation Letter for LLC Page 2

EIN Reference Numbers/Error Messages

There are a number of different error messages (called “EIN reference numbers”) that you may receive at the end of the application.

There are many reasons why an online EIN Application may be rejected.

Please reference this page (what do these EIN reference numbers mean?) for more information.

And if you need to file Form SS-4 instead of the online application, you’ll find those instructions here: how to apply for EIN with Form SS-4.

LLC Business Bank Account

Once you get an EIN for your LLC, you’ll be able to open an LLC business bank account.

You’ll need the following items in order to open an LLC bank account:

  • EIN Confirmation Letter
  • LLC approval (Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation)
  • LLC Operating Agreement
  • Your driver’s license and/or passport

IRS Phone Number & Contact Information

If you have any questions while going through the online EIN Application (or you receive any EIN reference numbers), you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933.

The IRS hours are Monday through Friday between 7am and 7pm. The earlier you call, the shorter the wait times.

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
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