Federal Tax ID Number

Your LLC’s Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)

**Short Answer: A Federal Tax ID Number is to a business what a Social Security Number is to an individual. It’s used for taxes & banking and it also identifies your company to the IRS.**


Video Transcript:

A federal tax ID number is issued by the IRS to business entities. A federal tax ID number is also known as an EIN or Employer Identification Number. For simplicity, we will refer to it as the EIN. The EIN is to a business what a Social Security number is to an individual. It basically identifies your business to the IRS. Even though it’s called an Employer Identification Number, it doesn’t mean that you have to have employees. EINs are used for opening business bank accounts, filing taxes, handling payroll if applicable, obtaining business lines of credit or business loans, obtaining credit cards in the name of the LLC, and applying for some business licences. You must 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. Dealing with the IRS to cancel an EIN is a pain in the neck. An EIN is similar to a Social Security number in that it has nine digits. To differentiate an EIN from an SSN, there are two digits, followed by a hyphen, and then seven more digits. For example, 68-3302819. How much does an EIN cost? An EIN is free. No, really. They’re completely free. You can obtain an EIN from the IRS. Unfortunately, many websites charge $50 to $100 for this. So how can you obtain your EIN? They can be obtained in three ways: by mail, by fax, or via the IRS’s online questionnaire. By fax takes four days. Too long. An EIN by mail can take up to four weeks. Way too long. But the EIN by online application takes fifteen minutes. Your EIN will be issued immediately after you answer all of the questions in the online application. You’ll then be able to save and print your new EIN as well as your confirmation letter. Make sure to save copies of these and keep them with your LLC documents. You’ll need to have the member’s SSNs or ITINs ready before you begin the online application. If you’re a US citizen, you’ll use your SSN, Social Security Number. If you’re a foreign national, you’ll use your ITIN, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. If you’re a foreign national, and you do not yet have your ITIN, you will first need to apply for one before getting your EIN. If you need to apply for your ITIN, please contact the IRS. How do you get the online application? Well, you have a few options. You can pay a website to get your EIN, although it’s actually free so why would you do that? You can go directly to the IRS.gov website and fill it out yourself, or you can watch a step-by-step video and learn how to navigate the IRS.gov questionnaire correctly. The link to the online application is available on our website. Remember, do not fill out your EIN application until your LLC has been approved. Do you happen to already have an EIN for your business? If you already have an EIN it’s most likely attached to a sole proprietorship. This is quite common. In this case, you’ll need to close out that EIN and get a different one for your newly formed LLC. You can find detailed instructions on our website, as well as a template letter that you can download and then send to the IRS.

A Federal Tax ID Number is issued by the IRS to business entities.

It is also known as an EIN, or Employer Identification Number.

For simplicity, 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 LLC to the IRS.

Even though it is called an Employer Identification Number, it does not mean that you have to have employees.

What Are EINs Used For?

EINs are used for:

– Opening business checking, savings, or investment accounts.

– Filing taxes.

– Handling employee payroll (if applicable).

– Obtaining business lines of credit or business loans.

– Obtaining credit cards in the name of the LLC.

– Applying for business licenses.

Wait For LLC Approval

You must 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 (dealing with the IRS to cancel an EIN is a pain in the neck).

What Does an EIN Look Like?

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.

An EIN will look like this: 68 – 3302189

How Much Does an EIN Cost?

An EIN is free.

No, really, they’re completely free.

You can obtain an EIN from the IRS.

Unfortunately, many websites will charge you $50 – $100.

How to Obtain an EIN

EINs can be obtained in 3 ways: by mail, by fax, or via the IRS’s online application.

An EIN by fax takes 4 days. Too long.

An EIN by mail can take up to 4 weeks. Way too long.

An EIN by online application takes 15 minutes.

Your EIN will be issued immediately after you answer all of the questions in the online application.

You will then be able to save and print your new EIN, as well as your Confirmation Letter. Make sure to save copies of these and keep them with your LLC documents.

SSN for US Citizens or ITIN for non-Citizens (but not required)

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 (Social Security Number).

If you are a foreign national or non-US resident you can use your ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

If you are a foreign national or non-US resident and do not have an ITIN, you can still obtain an EIN from the IRS. You just can’t get it online. You need to file Form SS-4 by mail or fax and write “Foreign” on line 7b.

If you have questions for the IRS, their phone number is 1-800-829-4933. Additional IRS contact info here.

How do I Get the EIN Online Application?

Important: Unless your LLC has been approved, do not apply for an EIN.

Although many websites charge money for obtaining an EIN, it’s actually completely free ($0) from the IRS.

You can obtain an EIN:
– by mail (Form SS-4)
– fax (855-641-6935)
– or online

EIN Confirmation Letter

Once you finish the online application, you can download the EIN Confirmation Letter (Form CP-575) from the IRS’s website. If you apply my mail or fax, this form will be returned by regular mail.

Here is what it will look like:

EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575) for LLC

Already Have an EIN for Your Business?

If you already have an EIN, it’s most likely attached to a Sole Proprietorship. (This is quite common.)

You’ll need to close out that EIN and get a different one for your LLC (after your LLC is approved).

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Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator at 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! We teach LLC formation (for free) in all 50 states. We're here to help, so reach out with any questions!

4 Comments

  1. Moen Chishti February 24, 2017

    Hi Matt,
    i am a huge fan of LLCUniversity. you are a giver and i really appreciate it. keep up the good work , which you are already doing great.

    i have a question regarding EIN. i am going to start e-business where i’ll import sales tax exempt goods from europe and will sell them online. while setting up my EIN, it asks for business category in “Details” section. it has many categories but “Retail” seems very close but neither short description nor the IRS help / google tells exactly what should be the category.
    Could you please give me some guidance or refer me some link which explains this kind of business category.

    thanking in advance.

    regards,
    moen chishti

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz February 28, 2017

      Hi Moen, apologies for the slow reply. And first, thank you for the kind words! I really appreciate it! There are no good write ups on this, so, based on what you’ve shared, it’s easiest just to select “other”, and then manually and briefly explain your business. Hope that helps! Let me know if you need anything else.

      reply
      • is June 22, 2017

        When changing the name of an LLC do I need a new EIN number? Thank you for all info.

        reply
        • Matt Horwitz June 23, 2017

          No, an LLC name change does not require a new EIN. You can find additional details from the IRS here.

          reply

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