How To Find A Business EIN Number | 2023 Full Guide

Whether you’re a small business owner, an investor, or an individual navigating the complex world of taxes, understanding the importance of an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is crucial. Therefore, learning how to find a business EIN may be significant.

An EIN is a unique nine-digit identifier assigned to businesses by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States. It is a vital tool for taxation, financial record-keeping, and legal compliance.

In 2023, as businesses continue to adapt to an evolving landscape, knowing how to locate an EIN has become more critical than ever. This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and resources to find a business’s EIN successfully. 

Whether you need it for tax purposes, partnership agreements, or due diligence, we will explore various methods and tools to simplify the process.

In this article, we will delve into the fundamentals of EINs, their significance, and the situations that require their retrieval. Additionally, we will outline step-by-step instructions on how to find an EIN through official channels, online databases, and alternative approaches. 

By the end, you will clearly understand the various avenues available to obtain this essential identifier, empowering you to navigate the intricacies of business identification easily.

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Key Takeaways 


  • EINs are primarily used to identify businesses for tax purposes. They are also referred to as Federal Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) and are equivalent to a Social Security number for a business entity.
  • To obtain an EIN, businesses must complete an application form (Form SS-4) the IRS provides. The application can be submitted online, by mail, fax, or phone. The IRS will review the application and issue the EIN upon approval.
  • Non-profit organizations, including charities, trusts, and others, are also eligible for an EIN.
  • EINs are used for official tax and business purposes, so protecting this number is essential to prevent identity theft or fraud. Business owners should avoid sharing their EIN with unauthorized individuals or organizations.
  • The official IRS database is the primary source for finding a business’s EIN. However, this information may not be publicly accessible. You can contact the IRS directly or check their online resources for specific guidelines on obtaining an EIN.
  • Commercial databases and online services compile business information, including EINs. These services may require a fee or subscription, and their accuracy can vary. Examples of such databases include Dun & Bradstreet and various business information websites.

What Is An EIN?

An EIN is a unique nine-digit tax identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States. It is used to identify businesses, trusts, estates, and other entities for tax purposes.

The EIN is similar to a social security number for individuals and serves to track and identify businesses for tax reporting and other official purposes. It is typically required when businesses open a bank account, file tax returns, hire employees, or engage in various financial transactions.

Obtaining an EIN is free; businesses can apply for it through the IRS website, mail, or fax. The EIN is assigned to a specific business entity and should be used consistently on all official documents and correspondence with the IRS and other government agencies.

When Does Your Business Need an EIN Number?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit identifier the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns to businesses for tax purposes. Here are some situations where a business may need an EIN:

#1. Hiring employees: 

You will generally need an EIN if your business plans to hire employees, including full-time, part-time, or temporary workers. This identification number is used to report employment taxes and other related obligations.

#2. Forming a corporation or partnership: 

When starting a corporation or partnership, you will need an EIN. Filing business tax returns and reporting financial information to the IRS is required.

#3. Establishing a trust or estate: 

If you are setting up a trust or estate for business purposes, you will need an EIN to identify the entity for tax purposes.

#4. Opening a business bank account: 

Most financial institutions require an EIN to open a business bank account. It helps identify your business when conducting financial transactions.

#5. Filing certain tax returns: 

Some tax forms, such as those related to employment taxes, excise taxes, and individual income tax returns, require an EIN for identification.

#6. Changing the legal structure of a business: 

If you’re changing the legal structure of your business, such as converting from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or corporation, you will need to obtain a new EIN.

It’s important to note that not all businesses require an EIN. Sole proprietors without employees can use their Social Security number for business tax purposes instead of an EIN. Additionally, some states may have additional requirements for obtaining an EIN for state tax purposes, so it’s advisable to check with your state’s taxing authority.

If you need clarification on whether your business needs an EIN, it’s best to consult with a tax professional or directly contact the IRS for guidance specific to your situation.

How Do You Obtain An EIN?

If you’re starting a business in the United States, obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is crucial. The EIN, or a Federal Tax Identification Number, is a nine-digit number provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to corporations and organizations for tax reasons. 

Obtaining an EIN is a relatively straightforward process, and here we will guide you through the necessary steps.

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

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Before applying for an EIN, ensure that you are eligible to do so. The IRS provides EINs to various entities, including sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and non-profit organizations. If you’re unsure whether you need an EIN, consult the IRS guidelines or seek advice from a tax professional.

Step 2: Gather the Required Information

How-To-Find-A-Business-EIN-Number

To complete the application, you must gather specific information about your business. This typically includes details such as the legal name of the entity, the physical address, the type of business, the reason for applying, the expected number of employees, and the date you started or acquired the business.

Step 3: Choose the Application Method

How-To-Find-A-Business-EIN-Number

The IRS offers several methods for obtaining an EIN: online, by mail, fax, or phone. The online application is the most convenient and fastest option, providing an immediate EIN confirmation. However, other methods can still be used if online access is unavailable or preferred.

Step 4: Online Application

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To apply online:

  • Visit the IRS website (www.irs.gov) and search for the “Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online” page.
  • Click on the appropriate link, and you’ll be directed to the online application form.
  • Follow the steps and enter the relevant information precisely. Once completed, you will receive an EIN confirmation immediately.

Step 5: Mail or Fax Application

Suppose you apply by mail or fax and download Form SS-4, “Application for Employer Identification Number,” from the IRS website. Fill out the form using the gathered information and double-check for accuracy. Please mail the completed form to the appropriate IRS address or fax it to the designated fax number provided on the form. The processing time for mail or fax applications is longer than the online option.

Step 6: Phone Application

Contact the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at 1-800-829-4933 to apply via phone. An IRS representative will guide you through the application process, and once all the necessary information is provided, they will assign you an EIN.

Step 7: Additional Considerations

Suppose you are a non-U.S. resident applying for an EIN. You may need to appoint a responsible party with a valid Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to complete the application.

How Long Does It Take To Get An EIN?

Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) can vary depending on the method you choose to apply. Here are the general timelines for each application method:

#1. Online application: 

The quickest way to get an EIN is by applying online through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. The online application is available 24/7 and typically provides an immediate EIN after successful submission.

#2. Fax application: 

If you choose to apply via fax, you must complete Form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number) and send it to the appropriate fax number provided by the IRS. The response time for a fax application is usually within four business days.

#3. Mail application: 

Applying by mail involves completing Form SS-4 and sending it to the IRS via postal mail. A mailed application’s processing time is longer than online or fax applications. Receiving your EIN confirmation through mail can take around 4 to 6 weeks.

It’s important to note that these timelines are approximate and can vary based on various factors, including the IRS workload and any potential errors or issues with your application. It’s recommended to plan and allow sufficient time for the EIN application process to ensure you receive your EIN promptly.

How To Find Your EIN 

If you’re a business owner in the United States, you’re likely familiar with the importance of having an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN is a unique nine-digit number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns to identify your business for tax purposes. It is often referred to as a federal tax ID number.

Whether you’re starting a new business or need to locate your existing EIN, conducting an EIN lookup is straightforward. Here, we’ll guide you through the steps to find your business EIN.

#1. Check Your Records: 

The first place to look for your EIN is in your business records. This includes any paperwork you received from the IRS when you initially applied for your EIN. Some standard documents that may contain your EIN include previous tax returns, business registration forms, and correspondence with the IRS.

#2. Contact the IRS: 

If you are still looking for your EIN in your records, the next step is to contact the IRS directly. You can get the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at 1-800-829-4933. Remember to have all relevant business information readily available, such as your legal business name, address, and other identifying details, as the IRS will require this information to assist you.

#3. Look for a Previously Issued W-2 or 1099 Form: 

If you have ever been an employee or a contractor and received a W-2 or 1099 form from your business, your EIN will be listed on those forms. Employers and clients often use these forms to report wages and income paid to individuals.

#4. Check Your Bank Statements: 

Your EIN may be printed on your bank statements if you have a business account. Look for official documents or reports from your financial institution displaying your EIN. Some banks also provide EIN information through their online banking platforms.

#5. Review Your Business Credit Report: 

Business credit reporting agencies such as Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax collect and maintain information about businesses, including their EINs. You can request a copy of your business credit report from these agencies and review it to find your EIN. Remember that you may need to provide certain identifying information and pay a fee to access your credit report.

#6. Consult with Your Accountant or Tax Professional: 

If you still need help locating your EIN, consider contacting your accountant or tax professional. They may have a record of your EIN in their files or be able to assist you in the search process. Additionally, they can guide any specific steps you should take based on your business’s unique circumstances.

Remember, it is crucial to keep your EIN in a secure and easily accessible location. You’ll need this number for various tax-related purposes, including filing tax returns, opening business bank accounts, hiring employees, and applying for business licenses or permits.

If you recently obtained an EIN for a new business, save all the relevant paperwork and make multiple copies for safekeeping. Maintaining organized records will save you time and effort in the future, especially if you need to conduct an EIN lookup.

How To Find a Business EIN Number

To find a business’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), you can follow these steps:

#1. Check any official documents

Look through any official paperwork you have received from the business, such as tax returns, invoices, or business licenses. The EIN is typically mentioned on these documents.

#2. Contact the business directly

Reach out to the business and ask for their EIN. You can call their main phone number or email their official contact address. Be sure to explain why you need the EIN and provide any relevant information to establish your legitimacy.

#3. Search through IRS databases

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) maintains a few online databases where you can search for a business’s EIN. These databases are generally intended for specific purposes, so make sure you use the appropriate one for your needs:

a. IRS Business Master File (BMF):

The BMF is a comprehensive database with information about tax-exempt organizations, businesses, and other entities. You can search for a business’s EIN using the IRS website’s Exempt Organizations Select Check tool (https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/exempt-organizations-select-check).

b. SEC EDGAR database: 

If the business is publicly traded or has filed certain documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), you can search for its EIN through the SEC’s EDGAR database (https://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/accessing-edgar-data.htm).

#4. Use commercial databases

There are third-party services and commercial databases that compile and provide access to business information, including EINs. These services often require a subscription or fee. Examples of such databases include Dun & Bradstreet (https://www.dnb.com/) and LexisNexis (https://www.lexisnexis.com/).

#5. Check state-specific databases

Some states maintain their databases where you can find business information, including EINs. Visit the official website of the state’s Department of Revenue or Secretary of State and search for the business entity lookup or registration search tool.

Remember, EINs are sensitive information, so ensure you have a legitimate reason for obtaining it and respect any privacy and confidentiality laws that may apply.

What To Do If You Cannot Find A Business EIN

If you are unable to find a business’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), you can try the following steps:

#1. Contact the Business

Reach out to the business directly and ask for their EIN. This can be done by email, phone, or visiting their physical location. Please explain why you need the EIN; they may require some verification or have specific information-sharing procedures.

#2. Look for Official Documents

Check any official documents you may have received from the business, such as invoices, contracts, or tax forms. The EIN is typically included in these documents, especially those related to financial transactions.

#3. Research Government Databases

Visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website or the applicable government agency’s website in your country. Many countries have online databases or search tools that allow you to look up the EIN of registered businesses. However, access to such databases may be restricted, and you may need to provide specific reasons for your search.

#4. Check Public Filings 

You can search public filings with the appropriate government agency if the business is registered as a corporation or LLC. In the United States, for example, you can search the Secretary of State’s website or the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR database for corporate filings, which often include the EIN.

#5. Consult Third-Party Services

There are online services that specialize in providing business information, including EINs. These services often charge a fee for access to their databases. Ensure that you use reputable and reliable sources for obtaining such information.

#6. Seek Professional Help

Consider consulting with an attorney, accountant, or tax professional if all else fails. They may have access to resources or tools to help you locate the EIN or provide guidance on alternative approaches.

Remember to always respect privacy and confidentiality when searching for business information. Use the obtained EIN for legitimate purposes and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

When Does A Business Need To Reapply For An EIN?

Generally, a business only needs to reapply for a new EIN if specific circumstances require it. Here are some situations where a business may need to obtain a new EIN:

#1. Change in business structure: 

If the business changes its legal structure, such as from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or from a partnership to a corporation, a new EIN will be required.

#2. Bankruptcy: 

If a business files for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 11, it may need to apply for a new EIN for the bankruptcy estate.

#3. Change of ownership: 

If a business is sold or changes ownership, the new owner may need to obtain a new EIN.

#4. Certain types of trusts: 

In some cases, trusts may need to apply for a new EIN. For example, a new EIN may be required if a revocable trust becomes irrevocable after the grantor’s death.

#5. Dissolution and subsequent reformation: 

A new EIN may be necessary if a business is dissolved and later reformed under a different entity type or with other owners.

It’s important to note that business name or location changes generally do not require a new EIN. However, it is advisable to notify the IRS of such changes to ensure accurate record-keeping.

Suppose you are still determining whether your specific circumstances require a new EIN. In that case, it’s best to consult with a tax professional or contact the IRS directly for guidance tailored to your situation.

Are There Any Restrictions Or Limitations When Searching For A Business’s EIN?

There are restrictions and limitations when searching for a business’s Employer Identification Number (EIN).p While some information about businesses and their EINs is publicly available, accessing specific details may be subject to restrictions and privacy concerns. 

Here are a few important considerations:

#1. Publicly available information: 

Some basic information about businesses, including their EINs, can be found in publicly accessible sources such as the IRS website, commercial databases, or business directories. However, the level of detail provided may vary, and sensitive information is typically not disclosed.

#2. Privacy regulations: 

Due to privacy regulations and concerns, specific details associated with a business’s EIN, such as the owner’s name or financial information, are generally not publicly disclosed. Personal privacy laws aim to protect individuals and prevent the misuse of sensitive data.

#3. Authorized access: 

Accessing more comprehensive information about a business and its EIN requires authorized access. This access is typically granted to individuals or entities with a legitimate need, such as government agencies, financial institutions, or authorized representatives of the business.

#4. Purpose of search: 

The purpose of your search for a business’s EIN may impact the availability of information. For instance, if you are an employee or an authorized business representative, you may have easier access to the EIN for administrative purposes. However, if you intend to use the EIN for unauthorized or malicious activities, it would be illegal and unethical.

How To Cancel An EIN 

To cancel an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, you need to take the following steps:

#1. Prepare a written request: 

Write a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) explaining that you want to cancel your EIN. Include the legal name of your business, the EIN you wish to cancel, and the reason for the cancellation. Make a point of signing and dating the letter.

#2. Gather supporting documents: 

Attach any supporting documents that are relevant to the cancellation. This might include the initial EIN assignment letter, tax returns filed under that EIN, and any other relevant correspondence with the IRS.

#3. Contact the IRS: 

Call the Business and Specialty Tax Line at 1-800-829-4933 (domestic callers) or 1-267-941-1099 (international callers) to inform them about your request to cancel the EIN. Explain your situation and ask for guidance on where to send your written request.

#4. Mail the request: 

Send your written request and supporting documents to the appropriate IRS address. The address will depend on your business’s location and the type of entity you have. You can find the correct address on the IRS website or by contacting the IRS directly.

#5. Follow up: 

After mailing your request, give the IRS some time to process it. If needed, you can follow up with the IRS to confirm that your EIN cancellation request has been received and is being processed. Be prepared to provide them with any additional information they may require.

It’s important to note that canceling an EIN does not close your business or exempt you from other tax obligations. You should consult with a tax professional or legal advisor to understand the full implications of canceling your EIN and to ensure compliance with all requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is an EIN?

An Employer Identifying Number (EIN) is a nine-digit identifying number provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to firms for tax purposes.

Why do I need an EIN?

An EIN is required for various business-related activities, such as opening a business bank account, filing tax returns, hiring employees, and obtaining specific business licenses and permits.

Is there a fee for obtaining an EIN?

No, obtaining an EIN from the IRS is free of charge.

What information do I need to provide when searching for an EIN?

When contacting the IRS or a business directly, you may be asked to provide specific details, including the legal name of the business, the business address, and the responsible party’s name and contact information.

Can I use someone else’s EIN for my business?

No, it would help if you did not use someone else’s EIN for your business. Each business should have its own unique EIN.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, finding a business EIN is fundamental to establishing and running a business. Following the steps outlined in this complete guide, you can navigate the process quickly and confidently, ensuring compliance with legal obligations and unlocking the benefits of having an EIN. 

Whether you’re a small business owner, a freelancer, or a contractor, having an EIN can streamline your business operations and ensure compliance with legal and tax requirements. So, take the time to obtain your EIN and set your business on the path to success.

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