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Picture this: You’re on a thrilling quest to uncover the hidden gems of the business world, delving into the nooks and crannies of tax identities, when suddenly you realize that you need the key to unlock these treasures, the elusive EIN number.
Fret not, for this blog post is your trusty map and compass, guiding you through the intricate maze of EIN number lookups. Whether you’re seeking to verify a business partner or conducting due diligence, let us embark on this journey together as we unravel and master the art of discovering your unique business tax ID number.
What Is an EIN?
An EIN serves as a unique identifier for your company. It’s used mainly for tax purposes. The IRS requires an EIN for any registered business with employees, corporations, partnerships, and businesses that file employment, excise, or alcohol, tobacco, and firearms tax returns.
Your EIN serves as the primary ID of a business to the government. It’s also commonly referred to as a “tax identification number (TIN)” or “federal tax ID number.” You might use it to:
- File business tax returns
- Open a business bank account
- Apply for small business loans
- Obtain a business license
- File various business legal documents
How to Look Up an EIN Number?
If you previously applied for an EIN and have forgotten it, here are a few possible ways to check your business tax ID number.
1. Check Your EIN Confirmation Letter
The IRS will notify you when it approves your EIN application. Depending on how you apply, you may receive a confirmation letter with your EIN online at the time it was issued or via mail or email.
Look back through your paper and digital business files. You or whoever helped you apply may have saved a copy of it for future reference.
2. Check Anywhere Your EIN Could Be Recorded
Doing an EIN lookup or tax ID number lookup should be simple since it should be on many essential documents. Here are a few places your EIN might appear:
- CP 575 Notice: When the IRS issues an EIN, they send you a CP 575 confirming your employer identification number.
They may have issued this digitally when you applied online, faxed it, or sent it via mail. Check to see if you received an electronic or printed letter from the IRS confirming your EIN when you first applied.
- Prior year tax returns: Check your previous income, employment, or excise tax returns. You generally have to include your EIN on any tax returns, so assuming this isn’t your first time using your EIN, it should be on most official government forms.
Loan or license applications. You may have also used your EIN when applying for a loan, business license, or permit.
- Bank or financial institution: If you used your EIN to open a business bank account, try calling the bank or visiting a branch to get the EIN you used when you opened the account.
Performing an employer identification number lookup isn’t difficult: you don’t need to hire a service to find your EIN on your behalf.
3. Call the IRS
A third way to look up your EIN is to call the IRS. You can reach out to the Business and Specialty Tax line by calling 800-829-4933. The department is open Monday through Friday between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm local time.
How to Look Up a Company’s EIN?
There may come a time when you need to look up another company’s EIN for verification purposes, risk assessment, or other reasons.
Here are a few potential ways you might be able to find a business’ EIN when you need it:
- Ask for the information: The company’s payroll or accounting department might be a good place to submit your request, though there’s no guarantee a business will be willing to share those details.
- Check the company’s credit report: Unlike consumer credit reports, which have more robust privacy protections, almost anyone can check a business credit report.
Some business credit reports and scores may feature a company’s EIN alongside other important details, like how the business manages its credit obligations.
- Search state and federal websites: You may be able to find information about a company, including its EIN, by searching various state and federal government websites.
The secretary of state’s website (in the state where the business is located) may be a good place to start. You might also consider searching the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) website for SEC filings if the company is publicly traded.
- Pay a third party for help: Another option to consider is an EIN database. For a fee, these third-party services may be able to provide you with useful information about various businesses.
How to Get an EIN?
Applying for an EIN is easy, it can be done online within minutes on the IRS website or by faxing or mailing a completed Form SS-4 to the IRS.
We recommend that businesses apply for an EIN as soon as possible because it’s crucial for basic business functions. You don’t need an EIN if you are a sole proprietor with no employees, but if you’re looking to scale your business, having an EIN early on is beneficial.
Applying for an EIN online is the fastest, but you also have these options if you’re based in a U.S. state or the District of Columbia:
- Fax: (855) 641-6935
- Mail: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
If you’re an international applicant and don’t have a legal residence or place of business in the U.S., you can apply for an EIN by one of these methods:
- Telephone: (267) 941-1099 (available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time)
- Fax: (855) 215-1627 if within the U.S., or (304) 707-9471 if outside the U.S.
- Mail: Send your SS-4 form to Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN International Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
If you call to request an EIN, fill out an SS-4 form ahead of time to have your answers prepared for the questions the agent will ask. If you’re filing via fax or mail, complete Form SS-4 and mail or fax it to the IRS.
These methods take much longer than applying online while faxing can result in an EIN within four business days, mailed applications can take at least four weeks to process.
Once you receive your EIN, make sure to keep it somewhere safe. It’s unlikely that you’ll use an EIN as frequently as something like an SSN, so it’s easy to forget. However, since your EIN is your business’s tax ID, you’ll need it handy when dealing with taxes and applying for certain financial accounts or business licenses.
Does My Business Need an EIN?
Businesses of all types are able to apply for an EIN. However, the IRS requires certain businesses to have one. If you answer yes to any of the following, you’ll need an EIN:
- Does your business have employees?
- Do you operate your business as a partnership or corporation?
- Does your business file employment, excise, or alcohol, tobacco, and firearms tax returns?
- Does your business withhold taxes on non-wage income paid to a nonresident alien?
- Do you have a Keogh plan?
- Is your organization involved in a trust, non-profit organization, estate, real estate mortgage investment conduit, farmer’s cooperative, or plan administration?
It makes it easier to keep your personal and business taxes separate, and it may be required to open a business bank account or apply for business licenses. If you don’t have an EIN, you’ll need to use your SSN for various tax documents.
Keep in mind that those with an SSN, individual tax identification number (ITIN), or an existing EIN may apply for an EIN.
Does My Business Need to Reapply for a New EIN?
Sometimes, your business may need to reapply for a new EIN. The IRS requires you to reapply for one rather than amending your business’s existing EIN.
According to the IRS, here are the most common reasons:
- You change the structure of your business, like incorporating or turning your sole proprietorship into a partnership
- You purchase or inherit an existing business
- You created a trust with funds from an estate
- You are subject to a bankruptcy proceeding
If your circumstances require you to reapply for an EIN, the application process is the same as if you’re applying for one for the first time.
How to Cancel an EIN?
If you apply for an EIN and realize you don’t need it or close your business, you can close your business account with the IRS. How you close your account depends on whether you’ve ever used the EIN to file tax returns or not.
If you never used the EIN, send a letter to the IRS that includes the complete legal name of your business, your EIN, your business address, and the reason you need to close your account.
Send your letter to the Internal Revenue Service, Cincinnati, OH 45999. You may want to send the letter certified return receipt so you have confirmation that the IRS received it.
If you’ve filed an income tax return using the EIN, you need to file a final return before the IRS can close your account. Business tax returns, including Form 1065, Form 1120-S, and Form 1120, include a checkbox to mark the return as final.
You need to file a final return even if you didn’t have any revenues or expenses during your last year in business.
Once the IRS assigns an EIN, it will never assign it to another business entity, even after closing your business account. It remains the permanent federal identification number for that business, and you can reopen your account and reuse the EIN for that same business later if needed.
How to Look Up an EIN Number? – Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Look up an EIN Number?
The IRS doesn’t provide a public database you can use to look up EIN numbers for your own company or others. However, you can look at your EIN confirmation letter or other places your number may be recorded, including previously filed tax returns or old financing documents.
Is an EIN Number Free?
The IRS doesn’t charge a fee to apply for an EIN number. The only time you might incur any fees where an EIN is concerned is if you hire a third party to manage the application process on your behalf.
Can I Use the Same EIN for Another Business?
It depends. If you’re changing the ownership structure of a business, such as purchasing a new business, you’ll need a new EIN for the new business.
But if you’re only operating the other business as a division of your current business, then you won’t need a new EIN. It’s best to consult a tax advisor if you’re unsure.
Bottom Line on How to Look Up an EIN Number?
In conclusion, looking up an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a relatively simple process that can be accomplished through a variety of methods, including online searches, contacting the IRS directly, or using third-party services.
While the process may vary depending on your situation, the key is to have the necessary information at hand, such as the business name and location, and to be prepared to provide additional documentation if required.
By following these steps and taking the time to verify the legitimacy of the EIN, you can ensure that your business dealings are conducted in a professional and secure manner.
About the author
Dr. Alexander Sterling, 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. Sterling 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. Alexander Sterling, Esq, is a trusted authority dedicated to empowering businesses within the ever-evolving legal landscape.