An EIN number serves to identify your business in the eyes of the IRS. Many business owners apply for an EIN as part of the initial work of founding a company, while others wait until the first tax cycle to obtain the number. Here are a few tips on identifying your EIN and what to do to help avoid mistakes:
EIN Formatting: Your EIN consists of nine digits with a dash between the first two, and the rest. Your number should look like this: “12-3456789”. Your EIN can be found on your business forms and your last tax return.
Lost EIN: If you cannot find a number that fits this format on any of your forms, or you cannot find your forms but are certain that you have applied for an EIN, you can contact the IRS to retrieve the number. Go to www.irs-ein-tax-id.com and follow the steps for a “lost EIN”. The EIN must be retrieved by an authorized individual who has access to company information.
No EIN: If have yet to obtain your IRS EIN tax ID, you must fill out Form SS-4 and return the form to the IRS to receive your EIN number. The quickest way to obtain an EIN tax ID is to do so online at www.irs-ein-tax-id.com. You also have the option of sending your SS-4 via fax or mail, but be prepared to wait several weeks to obtain your EIN number. If your primary office or residence is not in the United States or US territories, you can call in for your EIN, but may also fax or mail the SS-4 form. Be aware that anyone applying for the EIN should be authorized to receive that EIN within your company, and that this individual may be answering questions per the SS-4 Form.
If you are uncertain about whether an EIN -like number is actually your EIN, it is best to contact the IRS and verify the number. Once you are certain that you have the correct EIN, you can file your taxes for the year without worry, and store the correct number for future use.