If you run a small or online business in the US, chances are that you’ll need to, or want to, get a federal employer identification number (EIN), whether or not you actually have employees. The primary reason for getting a federal EIN even if it’s not required for your small business, is that the EIN serves as a tax identification number (just like your social security number does). By having an EIN, you can use that tax ID number for business purposes without having to give out your personal social security number. Getting a federal EIN for your small business is simple and free. Here’s how to get a federal employer identification number from the IRS:
There are four ways you can get a federal EIN:
- Over the telephone.
- Via fax.
- By mail.
The quickest way to apply for an EIN is over the telephone. You simply call the number available on the EIN page of the IRS website. You’ll get your EIN right over the phone without any waiting. If you’re not in a hurry, you can fill out the EIN application and mail or fax it to the IRS for approval (details at the previous link to the EIN page), or use the Internet EIN application.
To find out whether or not you actually need to apply for a federal employer identification number, read the IRS guidelines.