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How to Find a Business Registration Number?

How to Find a Business Registration Number

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Imagine this: You’re embarking on an exhilarating adventure to unearth the hidden treasures of the business realm, exploring the intricate details of tax identities, when suddenly you realize that you require the key to unlock these riches – the elusive Business Registration Number. Fear not, for this blog post serves as your reliable map and compass, leading you through the complex labyrinth of Business Registration Number searches. 

Whether you aim to authenticate a business associate or engage in thorough research, let us embark on this expedition together as we unravel and become proficient in the art of uncovering these distinct numerical imprints.

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What is a Business Registration Number?

A Business Registration Number (BRN), also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN), serves as a unique identifier for your company. It is primarily used for administrative and regulatory purposes. The BRN is required for businesses that are registered with the government and engage in activities such as employing staff, filing tax returns, and operating in regulated industries.

The BRN acts as the primary identification for your business in official records and is also known as a “Tax Identification Number (TIN)” or “Federal Tax ID Number.” It has various uses, including:

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How to Find a Business Registration Number (BRN)?

If you previously applied for a Business Registration Number and can’t remember it, here are some possible ways to retrieve this essential business identifier.

1. Review Your Business Registration Number Confirmation Letter

The IRS provides you with a confirmation letter when your application for a Business Registration Number gets approved. Depending on your application method, you may receive this confirmation online at the time of issuance or via mail or email.

Try to sift through your business files, both paper and digital. You or the person assisting you with the application might have kept a copy of it for future use.

2. Check Documents Where Your Business Registration Number Could Be Recorded

Performing a Business Registration Number search should be relatively straightforward since it should appear on several crucial documents. Here are a few locations where your Business Registration Number might be listed:

  • CP 575 Notice: The IRS sends a CP 575 notice confirming your Business Registration Number when it’s issued. They might have issued this digitally during your online application, faxed it, or sent it via mail. Check if you received an electronic or printed letter from the IRS confirming your BRN during your initial application.
  • Previous Year Tax Returns: Review your previous income, employment, or excise tax returns. Your Business Registration Number generally needs to be included on tax returns. Hence, unless this is your first time using it, it should appear on most official government documents.
  • Loan or License Applications: You might have also used your Business Registration Number when applying for a business loan, license, or permit.
  • Bank or Financial Institution: If you used your Business Registration Number to open a business bank account, consider contacting the bank or visiting a branch to retrieve the number used during the account setup.

Retrieving your Business Registration Number is not complicated; there’s no need to hire a service to do it for you.

3. Contact the IRS

Another method to retrieve your Business Registration Number is to call the IRS. You can contact the Business and Specialty Tax line by dialing 800-829-4933. The department operates from Monday to Friday, between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm local time.

Get Your Business Registration Number with ZenBusiness

How to Find a Business Registration Number (BRN) for a Company?

In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to retrieve another company’s Business Registration Number (BRN) for purposes such as verification, risk assessment, or other legitimate reasons. Here are several potential methods you can employ to obtain a business’ BRN when needed:

  • Request the information: Submitting a formal request to the company’s payroll or accounting department is a viable option, although there is no guarantee that the business will be willing to disclose such details.
  • Consult the company’s credit report: Unlike consumer credit reports, which possess more stringent privacy safeguards, accessing a business’ credit report is relatively accessible. Some business credit reports and scores may include the company’s BRN, along with other pertinent information about its credit management practices.
  • Explore state and federal websites: Valuable information, including a company’s BRN, can potentially be found by conducting searches on various state and federal government websites. A recommended starting point would be the website of the secretary of state in the relevant state where the business is located. Additionally, it may be beneficial to search the website of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for SEC filings if the company is publicly traded.
  • Engage a third-party service: Another avenue to consider is utilizing a BRN database provided by third-party services. These services may offer valuable information about different businesses for a fee, facilitating the retrieval of the desired BRN.

It is important to note that the retrieval of a company’s BRN should be conducted in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and ethical guidelines, ensuring that the obtained information is used solely for legitimate purposes.

How to Obtain a Business Registration Number?

The process of obtaining a Business Registration Number (also known as EIN) is straightforward and can be completed through various methods. The most efficient way is to apply online via the official website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Alternatively, applicants can opt to submit a completed Form SS-4 by fax or mail to the IRS.

It is advisable for businesses to promptly apply for a Business Registration Number, as it plays a vital role in essential business operations. Sole proprietors without employees are not required to obtain a Business Registration Number; however, for those aiming to expand their business, obtaining a Business Registration Number early on offers several advantages.

For individuals operating within the United States or the District of Columbia, the following options are available in addition to the online application:

  • Fax: Transmit the completed Form SS-4 to (855) 641-6935.
  • Mail: Send the completed Form SS-4 to the Internal Revenue Service, Attn: BRN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999.

For international applicants who lack a legal residence or place of business in the United States, the following methods are available to obtain a Business Registration Number:

  • Telephone: Contact (267) 941-1099 during business hours of Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time.
  • Fax: If within the U.S., send the completed Form SS-4 to (855) 215-1627; if outside the U.S., send it to (304) 707-9471.
  • Mail: Submit the SS-4 form to the Internal Revenue Service, Attn: BRN International Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999.

If opting for the telephone method, it is recommended to complete Form SS-4 in advance to have the necessary information readily available when responding to the agent’s questions. For applicants using the fax or mail options, the completed Form SS-4 should be sent to the IRS. 

However, it is important to note that these methods typically entail longer processing times compared to the online application. While obtaining a Business Registration Number via fax may take up to four business days, mailed applications may require at least four weeks for processing.

Upon receipt of the Business Registration Number, it is crucial to keep it securely stored. Although the frequency of using a Business Registration Number may be less compared to an SSN (Social Security Number), it should be readily accessible as it serves as the business’s tax ID. The Business Registration Number is necessary for tax-related matters and when applying for specific financial accounts or business licenses.

Read more: How to Look Up an EIN Number

Is a Business Registration Number Required for My Business?

Businesses across various sectors can apply for a Business Registration Number. The IRS, however, mandates certain businesses to obtain one. If any of the following applies to your business, you will require a Business Registration Number:

  • Does your business employ any individuals?
  • Is your business a partnership or a corporation?
  • Does your business submit employment, excise, or alcohol, tobacco, and firearms tax returns?
  • Does your business withhold taxes on non-wage income paid to a non-resident alien?
  • Do you possess a Keogh plan?
  • Is your organization engaged in a trust, non-profit organization, estate, real estate mortgage investment conduit, farmer’s cooperative, or plan administration?

Even if your business operates as a sole proprietorship or single-member LLC with no employees, obtaining a Business Registration Number can still be advantageous. It aids in separating your personal and business taxes and may be necessary for opening a business bank account or applying for business licenses. If you don’t have a Business Registration Number, you’ll need to use your SSN for various tax-related documents.

Please note, those who have an SSN, individual tax identification number (ITIN), or an existing Business Registration Number are eligible to apply for a new one.

Is it Necessary for My Business to Reapply for a New Business Registration Number?

Occasionally, circumstances may necessitate your business to reapply for a new Business Registration Number. According to tax regulations, it is necessary to reapply for a new number rather than attempting to modify the existing one. Below are the most prevalent circumstances that may necessitate such a reapplication:

  • If there’s a restructuring of your business, such as incorporation or transitioning your sole proprietorship into a partnership.
  • If you acquire or inherit an already operational business.
  • If you establish a trust using estate funds.
  • If your business undergoes bankruptcy proceedings.

Should your situation demand the reapplication for a Business Registration Number, the procedure is identical to that of applying for a new one for the first time.

How to Cancel a Business Registration Number?

If you’ve obtained a Business Registration Number and later determine you don’t require it, or if your business ceases operations, you can proceed to close your business account with the tax authority.

The method for closing your account varies depending on whether the Business Registration Number has been utilized for tax return filings.

If the Business Registration Number has never been utilized, you should compose a letter to the tax authority providing your business’s full legal name, your Business Registration Number, the business address, and the reasoning for the account termination. Dispatch this letter to the designated tax authority’s address. It is advisable to send the letter via certified return receipt to ensure you have a confirmation of its receipt from the tax authority.

In the scenario where you have submitted an income tax return using the Business Registration Number, you will be required to file a final return before the tax authority can terminate your account. Business tax returns, including Form 1065, Form 1120-S, and Form 1120, incorporate an option to indicate the return as final. It is necessary to file a final return even if your last year of business operation did not yield any revenue or incur any expenses.

Once the tax authority assigns a Business Registration Number, it will not be reassigned to another business entity, even after the closure of your business account. It remains the enduring federal identification number for that particular business, and you can reactivate your account and reuse the Business Registration Number for the same business in the future if required.

How to Find a Business Registration Number? – Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Find a Business Registration Number?

The government does not provide a public database for looking up Business Registration Numbers (BRN) for your own company or others. However, you can refer to your BRN confirmation letter or check various places where the number may be recorded, such as previously filed tax returns or old financing documents.

Is a Business Registration Number free?

Obtaining a Business Registration Number (BRN) does not incur any fees from the government. The process of applying for a BRN is free of charge. However, if you decide to hire a third party to handle the application process on your behalf, there may be fees associated with their services.

Can I use the same Business Registration Number for another business?

The answer depends on the situation. If you are altering the ownership structure of a business, or registering a new business, you will need to obtain a new Business Registration Number (BRN) for the new entity. However, if you are simply operating the other business as a division or subsidiary of your existing business, you will not require a new BRN. It is advisable to consult a tax advisor or professional for guidance if you are uncertain about the specific circumstances surrounding your situation.

Bottom Line on How to Find a Business Registration Number?

In conclusion, if you want to find a Business Registration Number (BRN) you should know that it’s a relatively straightforward process that can be accomplished through various methods. These methods may include conducting online searches, contacting the appropriate government agencies, or utilizing third-party services.

While the specific process may vary depending on your circumstances, it is important to gather the necessary information, such as the business name and location, and be prepared to provide any additional documentation if requested. By following these steps and ensuring the validity of the BRN, you can ensure that your business operations are conducted professionally and securely.

About the author

Dr. Gabriel O'Neill, Esq., a distinguished legal scholar with a business law degree and a Doctor of Juridical Science, is a leading expert in business registration and diverse business departments. Renowned for his academic excellence and practical insights, Dr. O'Neill guides businesses through legal complexities, offering invaluable expertise in compliance, corporate governance, and registration processes.

As an accomplished author, his forthcoming book is anticipated to be a comprehensive guide for navigating the dynamic intersection of law and business, providing clarity and practical wisdom for entrepreneurs and legal professionals alike. With a commitment to legal excellence, Dr. Gabriel O'Neill, Esq., is a trusted authority dedicated to empowering businesses within the ever-evolving legal landscape.