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What is a Federal Employee Identification Number?

happy-employee Credit: Dreamstime

If you are interested in getting an EIN, you will be glad to know that it is very simple. First, however, it is important that you know exactly what a Federal Employer Identification Number is. An EIN is a number that is assigned to a business by the federal government for taxation purposes. It is basically the equivalent of a Tax Payer Identification Number for businesses. Everyone in the US has a Taxpayer Identification Number, or TIN. For Most people, their TIN is their social security number. It may be helpful for you to think of an EIN as a social security number for a business.

Apply for an EIN by Mail

You can apply for an EIN through the mail. Applying for an EIN through the mail generally takes about four weeks. To do this, you must mail the SS-4 form to the Internal Revenue Service. In order to obtain an SS-4 form, you can contact the Internal Revenue Service by mail.

Apply for an EIN by Fax

You can also apply for an EIN by faxing the SS-4 form to the IRS. Send the fax to the Internal Revenue Service via this fax number: (859) 669-5760. If you choose to process your SS-4 by fax, the process will take approximately four business days, assuming nothing is wrong with your application. Once again, you can find a pdf of the SS-4 form at this website:

Apply for an EIN Through a Toll-Free Telephone Service

You can very conveniently apply for your EIN through a toll-free telephone service. Call (800) 829-4933 anytime, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (EST). An assessor will interview you, based off of questions on the SS-4, and record your answers. By using this method, you should be able to have your EIN by the end of the phone call.

Apply for an EIN Online

The IRS is now offering an EIN application that is completely online. This application is the quickest and easiest way to get your EIN, as well as the way the IRS currently recommends. To do this, you will simply need to fill out an online, interview-style application. You will not need to fill out an SS-4 if you use this method.

Applying for Multiple EINs

If you are an individual looking to apply for multiple EINs, you should be aware that the most EINs any one individual can apply for during any given day is five. If you need to apply for more than five EINs, you will need to apply for them over a course of several days. This is because of the high demand that EIN services have to deal with on a consistent basis.

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