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Businesses Can Use IRS Web Site to Get Employer Identification Number

12/12/2003

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If you are new to the business world, obtaining an employer identification number (EIN) is one of the first things you should apply for. An EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is a nine-digit number that the Internal Review Service assigns to business entities. The IRS uses this number to identify taxpayers that are required to file various business tax returns. EINs are used by employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, other business entities, non-profit organizations, trusts and estates, government agencies and certain individuals.

In the past, applying for and receiving an EIN took several days. Now, the Internal Revenue Service has simplified that process. Businesses and tax professionals are turning to an online application on the IRS’s Web site to get new employer identification numbers. The online application form immediately issues a new EIN, eliminating paperwork and doing away with the usual four-to10 day wait for acquiring an EIN through paper processes.

The online EIN is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No registration is required to use the system and no paper needs to be sent to the IRS.

While the online form makes obtaining the EIN easier, it is not available to all entities. The online application process is not yet available for foreign addresses (including Puerto Rico), Limited Liability Company (LLC) without entity types, REMICs, state and local governments, federal government/military agencies and Indian Tribal government/enterprise.

If you have determined that you need an EIN and are not one of the excluded entity types, then you may proceed with the Online EIN Application process. If you are a third party, you must retain on file a copy of Form SS-4 signed by your customer and the signed statement authorizing you to file the online application. If you are not comfortable sending information over the Internet, you can download the Form SS-4 and mail, phone or fax it in. The online form requires that all information needed to process the application be submitted before the EIN is assigned to the taxpayer.

    For more information on applying for an EIN online, go to the IRS Web site at http://www.irs.gov.

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