FEIN - Federal Employer Identification Number

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Businesses use the FEIN number to identify themselves for tax reporting, banking and other reasons. Just like Social Security Number is specific to a certain person, the FEIN number is also specific to a certain business.


What is a FEIN number?

FEIN or Federal Employer Identification Number is also known as Federal Tax Identification Number. This 9 digit code is used by businesses in order to classify and identify them as a tax payer, for banking services and other official and legal purposes. Businesses with no employees and sole proprietorship may use the Social Security number for tax reporting. But for companies with employees must have FEIN or Federal Employer Identification Number. For each business owned by the same person, a different FEIN number would be required. It is unique to a business just like Social Security number is unique to an individual.

How to apply for FEIN?

Although an application for FEIN may take weeks to get processed, it is actually very easy to apply for FEIN.

You may collect an SS-4 Form from the office of IRS or the Social Security Office, fill it out and send it to the office of IRS. There is no application fee. Make sure you send it through registered post to guarantee the safe delivery of your form. You can download PDF version of IRS SS-4 form from here.

IRS has launched their interview style application for FEIN where they ask you certain questions online and update their system based on the information that you provide them. There is no form to fill out and there is no lengthy process of waiting for the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) either. If you are using their system of interview style application:
  • You don't need to fill out an SS-4 form and send it to the IRS office anymore
  • You don't have to get into the lengthy process of application for FEIN
  • You must answer the online questionnaire provided by them
  • IRS will then validate the data that you have provided
  • You will receive your EIN number immediately after successful verification

IRS allows you to make an online application.

How to find FEIN number?

If you are looking for the FEIN of a company you may locate it using several different ways. Following are few of the ways you can locate EIN:
  • For public companies you may check out the 10-Ks, 20-Fs and other SEC filings. These companies often print the EIN on the first page of such filings. These SEC filings may be found through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR database. It is free of charge.
  • For non-profit organizations you may check Form 990 in order to get the EIN. These organizations often include their EIN on this form that provides financial information and the names of executives of these companies. You may check Guide Star to access the database where you can find the Form 990 of several organizations. This is a free service.
  • Private companies may have it in their company website or the company invoice. You may use the website of KnowX which is a commercial vendor that allows you to search using a FEIN that displays a list of relevant results. You may be required to pay for their services.

Why do you need FEIN?

Following are a few situations when the Federal Employer Identification Number is required:
  • For starting a new business which is not a sole proprietorship
  • Purchase of an ongoing business
  • Any change in the organization type
  • When hiring employees for the first time
  • To create a pension plan in office
  • To form a trust

Can I use FEIN to purchase insurance?

Federal Employer Identification Number works best with businesses and not with purchasing insurance. Insurance companies prefer your Social Security Number rather than your Federal Employer Identification Number.

How is FEIN compared to Social Security Number?

FEIN is used by employers, partnerships, sole proprietors, non-profit organizations, trusts, corporations, estates, government agencies and other business entities. Employers may choose to use either their Social Security Number (SSN) or their FEIN for reporting taxes withheld on behalf of their employees. However, the credit bureaus and credit issuers can tell between SSN and FEIN.

Related Readings

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:39 am   Post subject: SS# vs. EIN  

If I am forming an LLC as husband and wife as the only members so it will be a disregarded entity for tax purposes should I get an EIN or use my SS#.

Wondering what the pros and cons are


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:13 am   Post subject:   

If you are forming an LLC, you will need a FEIN separate from your SSN. SSN can only be used by a sole-proprietor for reporting income from self-employment/business.



You will probably also need a separate state tax ID also.



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:01 pm   Post subject:   

what number do i call to get my fein #. i already have one but lost it


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:33 am   Post subject:   

Contact your local IRS office.



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:30 pm   Post subject: transfer#  

My father is retiring. He has had his # and company for 30 years. Is the # transferable to me his son?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:22 pm   Post subject:   

Jeff . . .



YES. Although the FEIN is issued at the request of an individual (or other "person" such as an officer of a corporation or association), the FEIN is issued TO the organization, not the person, so nothing really needs to "transfer".



It is a simple paperwork transaction to change the "responsible person" under an FEIN, if necessary. As long as the business is not changing names, notifying the IRS of a change of control is not really necessary.



Changing your corporate documents is more important, as is notifying your state's registrar of corporations (usually the Secretary of State) of the change in control.



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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 9:32 pm   Post subject: EIN and SSN  

Regarding the question. -"In theory, is it possible for an EIN and an SSN to be the same number." The short answer is Yes. Some additional Clarification:



A TIN is a taxpayer identification number. There are 4 types of TINs, SSN, EIN (or FEIN "employer identificaiton number" used for businesses, trusts, etc.), ATIN (adoptionTIN) and ITIN (for foreign individuals requiring a US taxpayer number).



It is possible for an EIN and SSN to be issued with the same numbers. They are formatted differently. The SSN is XXX-XX-XXXX, and an EIN is formatted XX-XXXXXXX. However, it is true that a TIN may be used for reporting with no formatting or TIN type, so the IRS or reporting entity may not know if the number is an EIN or SSN in all cases.



"Does this cause any problems." In theory, I could think of several, but it is hard to know for sure.


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 9:05 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
It is possible for an EIN and SSN to be issued with the same numbers. They are formatted differently.




It is not possible for this to occur. The series of the first three digits in either FEIN or SSN is descriptive of the region of the US in which the number is issued and the type of number specifically. The IRS does not issue duplicate numbers to more than one person, nor does it substitute an SSN for a FEIN.


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 2:19 am   Post subject: ein  

i aready have two different ein # from two different employers can I use one of them for an online business or do I need to apply for another one

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 11:58 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
i aready have two different ein # from two different employers




Please clarify this. Are you saying that you have operated two different businesses, each with its own FEIN, or you have worked for two different employers and you want to use their FEIN to run your own business?



Or are you confusing Social Security Number with FEIN?



I can't figure out what you mean.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 2:24 pm   Post subject:   

IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO BUY A BUSINESS CAN YOU APPLY FOR A FEIN BEFORE BUYING THE BUSINESS OR DO YOU HAVE TO BUY THE BUSINESS BEFORE APPLYING FOR THE F EIN NUMBER


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 7:47 pm   Post subject:   

When buying an established business, it may be more convenient to take over the existing FEIN instead of applying for a new one. You would probably want to wait to obtain the FEIN until after the purchase was completed. Getting a FEIN takes about 20 minutes if you apply at an IRS office.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:25 pm   Post subject: fein  

how do i find my fein number?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:19 pm   Post subject:   

Did you apply for one from the IRS? If you did, it's on the paperwork they gave you.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:07 pm   Post subject: Certificate of Registration  

for a business, what is a Certificate of Registration


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