How to Get a West Virginia EIN Number (for Free) for an LLC - 2022 Guide

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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 a West Virginia 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 West Virginia Secretary of State or State Tax Department. It is only issued by the IRS.

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 Number
  • Federal Tax Identification Number

Note: An EIN Number is not the same thing as a West Virginia Tax ID Number. An EIN is issued by the IRS. And a West Virginia Tax ID Number is issued by the West Virginia State Tax Department for state taxes.

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 West Virginia Limited Liability Company lets you:

  • Open an LLC business bank account
  • File federal, state, and local tax returns
  • Obtain business lines of credit or business loans
  • Get a business credit card for your LLC
  • Apply for business licenses or permits
  • Handle employee payroll (if applicable)

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How much does it cost to get an EIN?

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

When should you get an EIN in West Virginia?

If you’re following our West Virginia LLC formation guide:
You’ll need to first get a verbal LLC name approval by calling the Secretary of State. Then you’ll apply for your EIN Number. And then you’ll file your Articles of Organization.

If you already formed an LLC:
You can apply for your EIN now. You’ll need your EIN Number to apply for the Business Registration Certificate.

If you hired an LLC filing company to form your LLC:
Check whether or not they obtained an EIN for your LLC and if they applied for the Business Registration Certificate. If they didn’t, you should get your EIN as soon as your LLC is approved. And then use your EIN to apply for the Business Registration Certificate.

How do I get an EIN for my West Virginia 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).

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 for the application form 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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia 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 your LLC is approved, you can open a business bank account for your West Virginia 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 provide legal guidance or tax advice, but they will answer questions about the EIN application process. If you require legal assistance, you should contact your accountant or a tax lawyer.

EIN Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. You need an EIN for your West Virginia LLC in order to get your Business Registration Certificate, which is required to do business in West Virginia.

You may have seen other articles online say that Single-Member LLCs don’t need an EIN. While the IRS doesn’t require a Single-Member LLC to have an EIN, you should get one for your West Virginia LLC.

If you’re a sole owner (Single-Member LLC) with no employees, you could use your SSN to file West Virginia taxes and get your Business Registration Certificate.

But having an EIN can protect you from identity theft, and you’ll need an EIN for other purposes – not just filing taxes and getting a Business Registration Certificate. Your West Virginia 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 other business licenses or permits
  • Handle employee payroll (if applicable)

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. And you need an EIN to get your Business Registration Certificate, which is required to do business in West Virginia.

Note: All businesses in West Virginia must have a West Virginia Tax ID. You get a West Virginia Tax ID when the State Tax Department issues the Business Registration Certificate.

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 West Virginia Sole Proprietorship (with or without a DBA) should get an EIN, but it’s optional. You could use your Social Security Number (SSN) to apply for the Business Registration Certificate instead.

General Partnership: Your West Virginia 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 West Virginia business even if you don’t hire employees. You also need an EIN to get your Business Registration Certificate, which is required to do business in West Virginia.

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)

West Virginia is not a community property state. So West Virginia 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). (West Virginia is an exception to this rule. You need your LLC’s EIN in order to finish forming your LLC and applying for your Business Registration Certificate.)

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 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.

Next Step: Articles of Organization

Once you get an EIN for your LLC, you can then proceed to the next lesson: West Virginia LLC Articles of Organization.

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.

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