What's an EIN Number? How to get an EIN for your LLC (3 ways) (2023)

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An EIN stands for Employer Identification Number and it is issued by the IRS to business entities, such as an LLC.

Don't have an LLC yet?Hire Northwest to form your LLC for $39 + state fee (then add EIN to your order).

Have an LLC, but no EIN? Hire Northwest to get your EIN:
I have an SSN | I don't have an SSN

Federal Tax ID Number (EIN): Form an LLC (9/11)

Even though it’s called an Employer Identification Number, it doesn’t mean that you have to have employees. The EIN is just a type of Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) that identifies your LLC with the IRS.

An easy way to think of an EIN is that it’s like a “social security number” for your LLC.

An EIN is similar to a social security number in that it has 9 digits.

To differentiate an EIN from an SSN (123-45-6789), there are 2 digits followed by a hyphen and then 7 more digits (ex: 12-3456789).

EIN Synonyms

An LLC’s EIN has many different names, but they all mean the same thing:

  • EIN Number
  • Employer ID Number
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Federal Employer ID Number
  • Federal Employer Identification Number
  • FEIN
  • Federal Tax Number
  • Federal Tax ID Number
  • Federal Tax Identification Number

What is an LLC’s EIN Number used for?

EIN Numbers are used for:

(Video) How To Get Your EIN (Employer Identification Number) For Your Business For FREE

  • All correspondence with the IRS
  • Deposits and payments for federal taxes
  • Opening an LLC business bank account (checking, savings, or investment accounts)
  • Filing tax return and other documents (federal, state, and local)
  • Handling employee payroll (if applicable)
  • Obtaining business lines of credit or business loans
  • Obtaining credit cards in the name of the LLC
  • Applying for business licenses

Wait for LLC Approval

Wait for your LLC to be approved by the state before applying for your EIN. Otherwise, if your LLC filing is rejected, you’ll have an EIN attached to a non-existent LLC.

Exception to the rule:
If you are forming a Louisiana LLC or a West Virginia LLC, things are a little backwards (make sure to follow our lessons step-by-step). You’ll need to confirm your LLC name availability first, then get your EIN from the IRS, and then file your Articles of Organization with the state.

Applying for an EIN for your LLC is free ($0)

Applying for an EIN for your LLC is completely free.

The IRS doesn’t charge anything for applying for an EIN.

Don’t have an SSN or ITIN?

I made a mistake in the video above. I said: “If you are a foreign national you will need to use your ITIN. If you don’t have your ITIN, you will first need to apply for your ITIN before applying for your EIN.” This is not true.

Apologies for the confusion. We now have better information from the IRS about how to get an EIN without an SSN or without an ITIN.

If you have a foreign-owned LLC, you can still get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN. You just can’t apply for your EIN online. Instead, you’ll need to mail or fax Form SS-4 to the IRS. We have instructions here: How to Apply for EIN without an SSN or ITIN.

EIN Phone Application

Note: The video above also explains how you can get an EIN by phone. This is no longer the case. The IRS has discontinued this service.

The only businesses that can get an EIN by phone are Exempt Organizations (like non-profits) and Foreign Companies (companies formed or organized outside of the United States).

EIN for Husband and Wife LLC

If you have a 2-member LLC owned by husband and wife, and are located in a community property state, you can elect a special form of taxation called a “Qualified Joint Venture LLC“.

A Qualified Joint Venture with the IRS allows your husband and wife LLC to file taxes as a Sole Proprietorship instead of a Partnership. This can save you time and money in accounting and tax costs.

There may be additional benefits to obtaining Qualified Joint Venture status with the IRS and this is a conversation you’ll want to have with an accountant.

Please see our full article here: Qualified Joint Venture (Husband and Wife LLC)

EIN Responsible Party for LLC

The EIN Responsible Party is the person that goes on file with the IRS when you apply for an EIN for your LLC.

Think of the Responsible Party as the LLC’s “contact person”. This is the person the IRS will send mail and correspondence to.

If you have a Single-Member LLC:

You will be the EIN Responsible Party.

(Video) EIN | EIN number for Business - Get your EIN for FREE online. How to apply for EIN number. FEIN

If you have a Multi-Member LLC:

One of the LLC Members will be the EIN Responsible Party.

The IRS just wants one EIN Responsible Party. They don’t want all the LLC Members information. The IRS gets the other Members’ information when you file your 1065 Partnership return and issue K-1s each year.

Although any LLC Member can be listed, the person listed will take on the responsibility of making sure the LLC’s taxes are handled properly.

If your LLC is owned by another company:

The IRS made changes in 2018 that no longer allow an EIN Responsible Party to be a company. The EIN Responsible Party must be an individual person. So it’s best to list one of the individual owners of the parent company.

Note: If you have an LLC that is owned by another company and you try to get an EIN online, you’ll just get an error message at the end of the application.

Learn more:

To learn more about who can be the EIN Responsible Party for your LLC, please see EIN Responsible Party for LLC.

LLC taxed as a Corporation

By default, an LLC is taxed based on the number of Members (owners).

And “by default” means the LLC doesn’t elect to be taxed as a Corporation (either a C-Corporation or an S-Corporation). Instead, the LLC is just taxed in its default status.

(related article: how are LLCs taxed)

The default tax status for a Single-Member LLC is a Disregarded Entity, meaning if the LLC is owned by an individual, the LLC is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship. If the LLC is owned by a company, it is taxed as a branch/division of the parent company.

The default tax status for a Multi-Member LLC is Partnership, meaning the IRS taxes the LLC like a Partnership.

If instead, you want your LLC to be taxed as a C-Corporation, you’ll first apply for an EIN and then later file Form 8832.

If you want your LLC taxed as an S-Corporation, you’ll first apply for an EIN and then later file Form 2553.

If you choose to have your LLC taxed as a C-Corporation, make sure you speak with an accountant as there are a lot of details you need to consider. Having an LLC taxed as an S-Corporation is a much more popular choice than having an LLC taxed as a C-Corporation. S-Corporation taxation usually makes sense once an LLC generates about $70,000 in net income per year.

How to apply for an EIN for your LLC

Below you will find 3 different sets of instructions:

1. If you have an SSN or ITIN, use the online EIN application

We recommend applying for an EIN online for your LLC if you have an SSN or ITIN.

This is the easiest filing method and has the fastest approval time.

(Video) LLC Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)

We have instructions here:
How to apply for an EIN online

2. If you apply for an EIN online, but you get an error message

If you have an SSN or ITIN, apply for an EIN online, but you get an error message (called a reference number) at the end, you will need to mail or fax Form SS-4 to the IRS instead.

We have instructions here:
Apply for EIN for LLC with Form SS-4

3. If you don’t have an SSN or ITIN

If you don’t have an SSN or ITIN, you can still get an EIN for your LLC. You just can’t apply for an EIN online.

You will need to mail or fax Form SS-4 to the IRS. You must also fill the form out a certain way (on line 7b) in order to have your EIN approved.

We have instructions here:
How to get an EIN without an SSN or an ITIN

EIN Confirmation Letter (EIN Approval)

Once the IRS issues an EIN for your LLC you will receive your official approval, known as an EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575).

The method in which you applied for an EIN will determine how you receive your EIN Confirmation Letter.

If you apply for an EIN online:
You’ll be able to download a PDF copy of your EIN Confirmation Letter at the end of the online application. There is no waiting time. The IRS will also send you a duplicate copy in the mail in about 4 to 5 weeks.

If you send Form SS-4 by fax:
The IRS will fax you back your EIN Confirmation Letter within 4 to 7 business days.

If you send Form SS-4 by mail:
The IRS will mail your EIN Confirmation Letter within 4 to 8 weeks.

Here is what the EIN Confirmation Letter for an LLC looks like:

What's an EIN Number? How to get an EIN for your LLC (3 ways) (1)

How to Cancel an EIN?

If there was a mistake with your first EIN application or you need to cancel your EIN Number for any reason, you just need to mail a cancellation letter to the IRS.

We have instructions here: how to cancel an EIN.

You don’t have to wait for your EIN cancellation to be finalized before getting a new EIN for your LLC.

LLC Business Bank Account

After getting your EIN, you can then open a separate business bank account for your LLC.

(Video) How to Start an LLC & EIN in Pennsylvania (3 Methods) | Pennsylvania LLC Setup & Formation Service

Banks usually ask for the following documents to open an LLC business bank account:

  • EIN Confirmation Letter
  • LLC Approval (stamped and approved Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation)
  • LLC Operating Agreement
  • Driver’s License and/or Passport

Aside from the above, banks may also require other paperwork (like proof of address), so we recommend calling a few banks ahead of time before going in. It’s also a good idea to ask if they have monthly fees on their “basic” business checking accounts. There are a number of banks that don’t have monthly fees.

If you’re a non-US resident (foreigner), you will need to show 2 forms of identification, such as your foreign passport and your foreign driver’s license. There are additional things (shown below) to keep in mind when opening a U.S. bank account for your LLC: Non-US resident opening U.S. bank account for an LLC

IRS Contact Information

If you have any questions, you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933. Their office hours are 7am – 7pm local time, Monday through Friday.

We recommend you call the IRS early to avoid the typically long holding times.



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Matt Horwitz

What's an EIN Number? How to get an EIN for your LLC (3 ways) (2)

Founder & Educator, LLC University®

Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.

Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.


What is the best way to get a EIN number? ›

To apply for an employer identification number, you should obtain Form SS-4PDF and its InstructionsPDF. You can apply for an EIN on-line, by mail, or by fax. You may also apply by telephone if your organization was formed outside the U.S. or U.S. territories.

How do I fill out an EIN for an LLC? ›

Here are the precise steps for completing the online EIN application:
  1. Go to the IRS website. ...
  2. Identify the legal and tax structure of your business entity. ...
  3. If your business is an LLC, provide information about the members. ...
  4. State why you are requesting an EIN. ...
  5. Identify and describe a contact person for the business.

What information is needed for an EIN number? ›

The Information You'll Need
  • the name of the person responsible for the business (usually the business owner)
  • Social Security Number, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or Employer Identification Number of the responsible party.
  • the name of the business.
  • the mailing address of the business.

How do I get an EIN step by step? ›

How to apply for an EIN
  1. Visit the IRS website. ...
  2. Declare your business entity's legal and tax structure. ...
  3. Provide information about the members if your business operates as an LLC. ...
  4. Explain your reason for requesting an EIN. ...
  5. Identify the responsible party. ...
  6. Supply a physical address and phone number for your business.

Is getting an EIN difficult? ›

Getting an EIN is a quick and easy process, particularly for online applicants. Any business located in the US or US territories can qualify if the applicant has a Social Security or other taxpayer identification number. Before you start, you'll want to make sure you have your business information handy.

Should I get my EIN first? ›

You can file for your EIN before forming your LLC, but it is not recommended. If you do not have your LLC registered before applying for an EIN, your application might get rejected by the IRS because it cannot be validated against any state databases.

Should every LLC have an EIN? ›

An LLC will need an EIN if it has any employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below. Most new single-member LLCs classified as disregarded entities will need to obtain an EIN.

What comes first EIN or LLC? ›

It's necessary to file for LLC before EIN as you are not guaranteed your business name if it has not been registered. Also, the new regulation of the IRS requires filing the articles of incorporation and other documentation before businesses can obtain an EIN.

How long does it take to get an EIN? ›

The processing timeframe for an EIN application received by mail is four weeks. Ensure that the Form SS-4PDF contains all of the required information. If it is determined that the entity needs a new EIN, one will be assigned using the appropriate procedures for the entity type and mailed to the taxpayer.

What should an EIN number look like? ›

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that IRS assigns in the following format: XX-XXXXXXX. It is used to identify the tax accounts of em- ployers and certain others who have no employees.

Do all owners need to be on an EIN? ›

You might wonder does a partnership need an EIN, or does each person file for one? The answer is that the business needs just one EIN. When you form an EIN partnership, you form a single entity for your business. When you apply for the EIN, you apply as that entity, not as the independent partners forming the business.

Does an EIN require a SSN? ›

You don't need an SSN (Social Security Number) to get an EIN. You only need an SSN (or ITIN) if you want to apply for an EIN online. Solution: You can get an EIN without an SSN by sending Form SS-4 to the IRS by mail or fax (instructions).

Can I apply for an EIN myself? ›

You may apply for an EIN online if your principal business is located in the United States or U.S. Territories. The person applying online must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, EIN). You are limited to one EIN per responsible party per day.

What do I need to open a business EIN? ›

Refer also to the Small Business Administration's 10 Steps to start your business.
  1. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if applicable.
  2. Select a business structure.
  3. Choose a tax year.
  4. If you have employees have them fill out Form I-9PDF and Form W-4.
  5. Pay your business taxes.
Jul 14, 2022

How do I get an EIN at startup? ›

You'll need to:
  1. Call the IRS at 267-941-1099 between 6am and 11pm EST Monday – Friday.
  2. Answer questions pertaining to IRS Form SS-4. To make the process go smoothly, it's best to fill out the form beforehand.
  3. The IRS agent will fill out a Form SS-4 and open an account for you.
Mar 14, 2021

Why would I be denied an EIN? ›

Being denied an EIN means your business likely already has one. You only need a new EIN if there has been a significant change to the business's structure. Your EIN application may be rejected if: Your LLC has the same name as another entity in the US (this is usually accompanied by reference number 101)

Why does my EIN application keep getting rejected? ›

This often occurs because you have a conflict with your name on the application. Entity names must be unique. Your state agency should check to ensure that your name has not already been taken when you initially file for your corporation or LLC. Missing information might also lead to a 101 error.

What is the cheapest way to get an EIN number? ›

If you're looking to get an EIN, the good news is that the application process is easy and free. You can apply online on the IRS' website or by mail or fax. (International applicants also have the option to apply by phone.) You only need some basic bits of info about your business in order to apply.

Does my EIN have to match my LLC name? ›

In e-file, a taxpayer's Employer Identification Number (EIN) and name control in the Return Header must match the data in the IRS e-file database. If the EIN and name control do not match at the parent (consolidated) level, the e-filed return will reject.

What do first two numbers of EIN mean? ›

Prior to 2001, the first two digits of an EIN (the EIN Prefix) indicated the business was located in a particular geographic area. In 2001, EIN assignment was centralized, although all 10 campuses can assign an EIN, if necessary.

What is the difference between a tax ID and EIN? ›

A Federal Tax Identification Number, also known as a "95 Number", "E.I.N. Number," or "Tax I.D. Number", all refer to the nine digit number issued by the IRS. They are different names for the same number.

How can an LLC avoid paying taxes? ›

As an LLC owner you're able to reduce taxes by:

Claiming business tax deductions. Using self directed retirement accounts. Deducting health insurance premiums. Reducing taxable income with your LLC's losses.

Can I use the same EIN for two businesses? ›

Can I use the same EIN for multiple businesses? If you have multiple businesses and they are not established as legally separate entities, you can use the same EIN for all of them, even if they have different trade names or “DBA” names.

Can I change the name on my EIN? ›

If the EIN was recently assigned and filing liability has yet to be determined, send Business Name Change requests to the IRS address where you file your return. In some situations a name change may require a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a final return.

What should LLC first name be? ›

Be distinctive. Choose a name that'll stand out and help customers remember you and distinguish you clearly from any other company for legal and branding purposes. Some branding experts recommend starting business names with a hard consonant or incorporating alliteration to make it more memorable.

Is your EIN always the same? ›

Your tax ID number is a unique 9-digit code the IRS uses to track your company. This code is permanent. After assigned, The IRS does not require Tax ID renewal except in special circumstances.

Is EIN the same as business? ›

If you operate a business the IRS may require you to obtain an Employee Identification Number (EIN), which is also referred to as your business tax ID number. Each EIN is unique in the same way that your Social Security number is.

Can I use EIN immediately? ›

This EIN is your permanent number and can be used immediately for most of your business needs, including: Opening a bank account. Applying for business licenses. Filing a tax return by mail.

How long does it take to get an EIN confirmation letter? ›

EIN Confirmation Letter

On approval of your EIN application, the IRS mails you a confirmation letter within eight to 10 weeks of assigning you an EIN. This confirmation letter is known as Form CP 575 and is mailed to the address mentioned in your Form SS-4 application.

How long is an EIN good for? ›

Once an EIN has been assigned to a business entity, it becomes the permanent Federal taxpayer identification number for that entity. Regardless of whether the EIN is ever used to file Federal tax returns, the EIN is never reused or reassigned to another business entity.

Is the EIN always 9 digits? ›

An employer identification number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS. It's used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain others who have no employees. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers who are required to file various business tax returns.

Are all EIN numbers the same? ›

An EIN is also known as an employer identification number, federal identification number, or a tax ID number. This is because although it's always the same unique number, it fulfills a lot of different roles.

Can I buy a house with my EIN number? ›

Employee Identification Number

Before you can apply for a mortgage, you must file with the IRS and receive an EIN number. Even if you don't have employees, it's crucial to prove that you've taken the proper steps to set up your business correctly.

Can two names be on an EIN number? ›

Each one will require a separate, unique EIN. You cannot use the same EIN for multiple businesses, even if they are owned by the same person. EINs are not limited, so you may apply for as many as you need.

Can two people be on a EIN number? ›

While a partnership involves two or more people, they are only required to obtain one EIN. Come tax season, the partners will fill out Form 1065 Schedule K-1, which will assist them in identifying their self-employment income during that taxable year.

Can you have 2 EIN numbers? ›

How Many EIN Numbers Can You Have? Each business entity can have only one EIN assigned to it. However, if a business changes from one entity type to another (e.g., converts from an LLC to a C Corporation), it must retire the existing EIN and obtain a new one.

Does having an EIN affect taxes? ›

Business taxes are, of course, a reason to have an EIN. The ID number makes it easier to file federal and state taxes, quarterly or annually. Some small businesses and sole proprietorships use personal accounts for their business and taxes.

Can I use my social security number as my EIN for LLC? ›

Multimember LLCs are required to use an EIN to file taxes, but sole proprietors and single-member LLCs are not and can use their Social Security numbers instead.

What can I apply for with my EIN? ›

An EIN also helps you register a business entity, obtain a business loan, open a business checking account and much more. An EIN is as important for your company as a Social Security number is in your personal life. For some businesses, an EIN is a tax requirement.

Does having an EIN make you a business? ›

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN.

Do you have to file taxes your first year in business? ›

Most businesses must file and pay federal taxes on any income earned or received during the year.

How to start an LLC? ›

How to start an LLC in 7 steps
  1. Step 1: Choose and reserve a name for your LLC. ...
  2. Step 2: Choose a registered agent. ...
  3. Step 3: File organizational paperwork with the state. ...
  4. Step 4: Prepare an LLC operating agreement. ...
  5. Step 5: Determine licenses needed. ...
  6. Step 6: Get an EIN. ...
  7. Step 7: Register to do business in other states (optional)
Jan 3, 2023

Is there a downside to getting an EIN? ›

There are no negative repercussions if you get an EIN and ultimately never use it. Even if it seems like you'll never use it, having one gives you the option down the road to take advantage of its benefits of having one. Plus, it's free and easy to apply for one.

What is the average cost of an EIN number? ›

Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service.

Is it worth it to get an EIN number? ›

It helps you file business taxes and avoid tax penalties

If you're self-employed or you're an independent contractor, you're responsible for paying both your personal and business taxes. By getting an EIN, you can better organize your business taxes separately from your personal taxes, making the process a lot simpler.

Can I use my SSN as my EIN? ›

A sole proprietor without employees and who doesn't file any excise or pension plan tax returns doesn't need an EIN (but can get one). In this instance, the sole proprietor uses his or her social security number (instead of an EIN) as the taxpayer identification number.

Do I need an EIN to open a business bank account? ›

You can open a business bank account once you've gotten your federal EIN. Most business bank accounts offer perks that don't come with a standard personal bank account. Protection. Business banking offers limited personal liability protection by keeping your business funds separate from your personal funds.

Should I get EIN for my LLC? ›

An LLC will need an EIN if it has any employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below. Most new single-member LLCs classified as disregarded entities will need to obtain an EIN. An LLC applies for an EIN by filing Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number.

Can I use my EIN to get a loan? ›

Can I Get a Loan with Just My Business EIN? Yes, there are certain circumstances where a lender will not use your personal credit score, but only your EIN as a factor in lending to you. Note that they won't just use your EIN in isolation, as there are many factors that go into qualifying for a small business loan.

What happens if you create an EIN and don't use it? ›

The EIN will still belong to the business entity and can be used at a later date, should the need arise. If you receive an EIN but later determine you do not need the number (the new business never started up, for example), the IRS can close your business account.

How much is LLC? ›

You can file the LLC filing documents online, by mail, or in-person when visiting the local SOS office. The filing costs usually vary from $50 to $150 which is a single-time fee. If you plan to form your company in another state, then you might have to provide additional documentation and pay a higher formation fee.

Why does it cost 250 to get a an EIN number? ›

Getting an EIN for your business does not cost any money. It is a free service offered by the IRS for businesses. You can apply via mail or fax, but the easiest way to apply for an EIN is using their online application.

Is EIN the same as tax ID? ›

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a federal tax identification number, and is used to identify a business entity. It is also used by estates and trusts which have income which is required to be reported on Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.

What is the purpose of EIN number? ›

An employer identification number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS. It's used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain others who have no employees. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers who are required to file various business tax returns.

What is the benefit of an EIN? ›

An EIN is a unique nine-digit number that identifies your business for tax purposes. It's similar to a Social Security number but is meant for business related items only. As a business owner, you'll need an EIN to open a business bank account, apply for business licenses and file your tax returns.

Can you use an EIN to get a credit card? ›

Yes, it's possible to get a business credit card without an SSN. Some card issuers will allow you to use an EIN, which is like a Social Security number for your business, to apply for a card instead of using your personal information.


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