How to Find and Use Your Business Tax ID

How to Find and Use Your Business Tax ID

We all know the feeling: You finally sit down
to fill out that important form, only to get stopped short when it asks for a long ID number
you’ve never heard of or can’t remember. For business owners, that number is often
their business tax ID number, also known as their employer identification number or EIN. I’m Eric Goldschein, editor at Fundera,
and today we’re going to go over the basics of finding your business tax ID number. So the next time you need to file your business
tax returns, open a business bank account, or apply for a business loan, you’ll be
ready. We’ll also discuss changing or canceling
your EIN, or looking up the EIN of another company. Let’s get started. Most businesses need an EIN. The only exceptions are some sole proprietors
and owners of single-member limited liability companies. The IRS requires any other type of business
owner to get one. Just as your social security number stays
with you for life, your business’s EIN stays connected to your business for as long as
it’s in operation. You’ll use it in a number of situations,
including: Filing business tax returns or making business
tax payments. Applying for a business loan. Opening a business bank account. Acquiring a business license. Applying for a business credit card. And Issuing Form 1099s to independent contractors. If it’s been awhile since you used your
EIN, or you misplaced that old scrap of paper you used to write it down, there are a few
ways to look it up. Option 1: Check Your EIN Confirmation Letter When you applied for your EIN, the IRS sent
you a confirmation letter with your number and other identifying number on it. Yes, they did, I promise. If you applied online, they sent you an email;
if you applied by fax, they sent you a fax; if you applied by mail, they sent you a letter. Find that notice and store it away with your
other important business documents. Option 2: Check Other Places Your EIN Could
Be Recorded If your business has been around awhile, it’s
more than likely than your EIN is recorded on another document besides your confirmation
letter. Here are a few places you might look: Old federal business tax returns. Official tax notices from the IRS. Business licenses and permits. Business bank account statements or your online
account profile. Old business loan applications. Your business credit report. And Payroll paperwork, such as 1099 forms
that you’ve issued to independent contractors Remember, not every single business document
will have your EIN. For example, your articles or incorporation
or your DBA document won’t have your EIN listed. Check with the documents we just mentioned
first. Option 3: Call the IRS When all else fails, go back to the source. Call the IRS at their Business and Specialty
Tax Line, where a representative can give you your number over the phone. Keep in mind that the wait might be very long,
so leave this as your last resort. If you’re contacting the IRS to get your
EIN, they’ll ask you to confirm your identity to prove you’re a corporate officer, a sole
proprietor, or a partner in a partnership. Now, what if you want to find the EIN of another
company? That happens. You might want the EIN of another business
to verify a new supplier or client’s information, or in your regular course of business in certain
industries like insurance. Here’s a quick list of ways to find another
company’s EIN: Ask the company. Someone in the payroll or accounting department
should know the company’s tax ID. Search SEC filings, if the company is publicly
traded. Get the company’s business credit report. You can purchase their report through credit
bureaus, such as Experian and Equifax, as well as other sites like Nav. Use a paid EIN database. Commercial EIN databases charge a fee for
access to company EINs. Some databases will link EINs to other information,
such as company size and industry. This can also help you find new prospects,
so it could be worth the fee. If the EIN you need is for a nonprofit, use
Melissa Database. Melissa (like the name, Melissa) Database
provides free federal tax ID lookup for nonprofit organizations. Finally, let’s talk about changing your
EIN. Yes, your EIN stays with your business throughout
its life, but there are a few situations where you’ll need to apply for a new one… such as: You incorporate for the first time or change
your business entity. You buy an existing business or inherit a
business. Your business becomes a subsidiary of another
company. You’re a sole proprietor and are subject
to a bankruptcy proceeding. You’re a sole proprietor and establish a
retirement, profit sharing, or pension plan. You receive a new charter from your state’s
Secretary of State. There are changes to your ownership structure Things that don’t require a new EIN include
changing your business name or location—though you should still report those changes to the
IRS for their records. There’s never a need to “cancel” your
EIN. If you close your business, then re-open it
down the line, you can use that same number. No other business will ever receive that same
EIN. If you’re feeling generous and want the
number off the IRS’ books, you can close your business account with them. If you ever want to start a new business after
that, you’ll need a new EIN. That about does it for getting, or finding,
an EIN. It’s a fairly straightforward process, but
don’t force yourself to go through it every tax season or whenever you want a new business
credit card. Once you have your number, save it somewhere
safe. You’ll be using it quite a bit going forward. Alright, that wraps up our video on EINs. If you have more questions or comments, drop
us a line below. You can also visit, or subscribe
to our channel for more videos. Thanks for watching.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Want to learn more about the benefits of EINs? Here are nine reasons you should get an EIN: Want to apply for a business credit card? Here's how to use your EIN to do that: To learn more about EINs and other topics that matter to your small business, visit the Fundera Ledger:

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