How Do I Apply for An EIN for My Small Business?

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An Employee Identification Number (EIN)  is a vital piece of information if you run a business and are responsible for employing people. An EIN is a piece of information kept on record by the IRS which provides them with the necessary categorizations for the type of business you run and also keeps track of the tax you have to pay. 

Whether you’re running a large enterprise or a small business, you must apply for an EIN as soon as possible. Having an EIN has many benefits for your business, however, the most prominent one is that it shows your customers and clients that you take your business seriously. 

How to Apply for An EIN

When you’re starting a small business, having an EIN means that you can apply for services such as business bank loans and business credit. It’s also great because it means that you can keep your personal and business expenses separate. As a small business owner, this can be difficult to do, but having an EIN makes it a lot easier. But how do you apply for an EIN for your small business? There are several application options you can take. Let’s take a look at them below. 

Apply Online

One of the first things you should do when you open a small or medium-sized business is to go onto the IRS website and apply for your EIN online. This is a simple process whereby you will be asked to fill in a form that asks you questions about your business. These questions are to help the IRS correctly classify your business and register you for tax filing. 

The entire process should not take more than 30 minutes and the best part about this application method is that you’re able to get access to your EIN immediately after you complete your application. 

Contact the IRS Directly 

If you cannot apply for your EIN online, you can also contact the IRS via phone. Once you are put through to the operator, you will be asked to answer the same questions that appear on an SS-4 form. It’s therefore advisable that you take a look at one of these forms beforehand before speaking to someone from the IRS. This will make the application process a lot quicker, meaning that you will get your EIN sooner. 

Apply Via Post 

If you have a bit more time to wait for your EIN, then another way you can apply is through the mail. The postal application method usually has a turnaround time of around 3 to 4 weeks, so you need to allow at least this amount of time for the EIN to come through. When you choose to apply for your EIN through the mail, you will need to fill out an SS-4 form and send it to the correct address. Below is the address to send EIN applications. 

Internal Revenue Service

Attn: EIN Operation

Cincinnati, OH 45999

When the IRS writes back to you, they will enclose your EIN in the envelope. You must keep this piece of information safe, as you will need to apply for certain business banking services and some clients or customers may request it from you too. 

Apply Via Fax

Applying via fax is still possible when you require an EIN. You will still be required to fill out an SS-4 form and send it via fax to the correct number. In this case, the correct fax number to send your EIN to is (859) 669-5760. When applying via fax, it’s important to keep in mind that the turnaround time is similar to that of the mail application process. Applicants using the fax application method can expect to wait around 3 to 4 weeks for their EIN to be returned to them. Again, it’s important to keep this piece of information safe so that you can have it to hand when you need it. 

Information You Need To Apply for an EIN

Before you start the application process, there are some important pieces of information you have to have ready. The list below will lay these out for you. 

  • The legal name of your business
  • Your business’s postal and physical address
  • The full legal name of the taxpayer (business owner) or the authorized company representative. This is another person you can nominate to represent your business with the IRS. 
  • Why you are applying for the EIN
  • The date on which the business was started or acquired
  • The business’s estimated employees for the year
  • The month in which the business’s accounts close (i.e. when the financial year for your business runs)

Once you have all of this information to hand, it will make the application process a lot simpler and will ultimately get you your EIN quicker. 

Benefits of Having an EIN for Your Small Business

So why is it so important for you to have an EIN as the owner of a small business? Aside from the legal obligation you have as a business owner to be registered with the IRS, it’s also highly beneficial for you to have an EIN. 

One of the main benefits is that it keeps your personal and business expenses separate. This is important as it ensures that you do not get confused between the money you spend on your business and the money you spend on your personal needs. 

It’s also a great thing to have to help prevent identity fraud. Having an EIN protects your Social Security Number because it acts as another form of identification for you and your business. 

Additional to the legal benefits, there are also some great service benefits you can enjoy when you have an EIN, including business banking and credit services. 

At What Point Should You Apply for an EIN? 

It’s advisable that you get an EIN as soon as you open your small business. This will help you become legally and tax compliant and will allow you to implement payroll sooner when your business expands. The sooner you apply for an EIN the more benefits to your business you can enjoy.

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