How to Get a Federal Tax ID Number
When setting up a new business, you need to get a federal tax ID number. also known as the Employer Identification Number (EIN). EIN is generally used to identify your company's identity for tax and other legal purposes.
Ways to Apply for an EIN
There are four avenues for getting a federal tax ID number:
- Internet (online application)
- Phone Call
Steps to File Online
Applying online for an EIN is normally the fastest way to get it. Here's how:
- Go to the IRS website and search for the term "EIN." Once the link is found read all of the contents.
- Click the "apply online" button.
- Do not proceed unless all reminders on the online form are noted or else you will have to redo the application.
- Start your application by clicking the "begin application" button.
- Answer all the online form’s questions and give all the required information.
- Download, save and print the confirmation notice of your application and keep it on file.
How to Apply by Phone
A toll-free telephone service is setup for business owners who wish to get a federal tax ID number by phone. If you call the number (800) 829-4933, a Business and Tax Line representative will attend to your EIN needs. Be sure to have all the necessary business information ready as you will be required to answer questions about your business. After all the information is gathered and validated, the operator will assign you an EIN number. This service is only available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time.
The Steps to Apply
- Go to the IRS website and download Form SS-4.
- Fill out the form completely and answer all the questions. You can type and save it online or print the form and fill it out with a pen.
- Double-check all the entries and make sure you provided exact information.
- Print the completed form and affix your signature.
- Fax the document to (859) 669-5760 if your business is located in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia; or to (215) 516-1040 if your business does not have a principal office in any state.
Do not forget to provide your fax number because your assigned EIN will be faxed back to you four days after the application is received.
Steps to Apply by Mail
The processing time frame to get a federal tax ID number by mail is the longest of the four options. It can take four weeks before the IRS even receives your application. However, if you prefer using traditional mail, here are steps to do so:
- Download Form SS-4 from the IRS website.
- Fill out the form and answer all the questions online or manually.
- Re-check the information you provided before printing. Make sure that you did not miss a single question.
- Print and sign the filled out form.
- If your business is located in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia, mail the form to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999. If your company does not have a principal place of business in any state, mail the form to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN International Operation, Philadelphia, PA 19255.