FEIN - Federal Employer Identification Number

by Ganesh » Mon Sep 03, 2007 06:44 am
Posts: 2
Joined: 03 Sep 2007

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

What is a FEIN number?

Total Comments: 127

Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 12:52 pm Post Subject: ein

i have a previous ein number, am going to try and start my own buissness again, is my ein still still valid and since i will be doing this solely by myself do i need a new number or can i keep the existing number though i havent used it in 2/3 years

Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 09:50 pm Post Subject: FEIN Verification

I need verification of my Fein Number 43-2096806 Where can I get a copy of this?

Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 10:33 pm Post Subject:

Answers to questions about Employer Identification Numbers are best researched on the IRS.GOV website or your state's tax authority's website.

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 04:11 pm Post Subject: FEIN

When do you apply for a FEIN - before or after you apply for incorporation?

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 08:00 pm Post Subject:

When you are considering being in business is a good time to apply. If you already have employees, it's kind of hard not to already have one.

Posted: Tue May 18, 2010 08:38 pm Post Subject: SSN FEIN conflicts

Is it possible, at least in theory, that an SSN for an individual, can be exactly the same as a FEIN for a business? Does/could this create any conflicts that you are aware of?

Posted: Tue May 18, 2010 09:14 pm Post Subject:

Technically, the two are different. A sole proprietor with no employees is encouraged by the IRS to use only his SSN, but there is nothing to stop him from obtaining a FEIN. If a business is incorporated, operates as a partnership, LLP, or LLC, it will need a FEIN separate from any principal's SSN or TIN, whether there are any employees or not.

A non-US citizen/non-legal resident here on a visa who wants to conduct some sort of business in the US (such as a bank or brokerage account) needs a personal TIN (taxpayer ID number) to be able to report personal taxable events (income, capital gains, etc), especially those subject to "backup withholding", in addition to a FEIN as a business owner.

A TIN and a SSN are also not the same thing, although they mostly do the same things . . . allow one to report income for tax purposes -- the single biggest difference being the non-citizen/non-legal resident is not supposed to pay into Social Security/Medicare, because they are not supposed to be enrolled in those systems.

TINs are also issued to non-natural entities such as charitable foundations and trusts for the purpose of reporting taxable revenue or distributions, if any. Obviously, these entities have no need for Social Security or Medicare.

Posted: Sun May 23, 2010 03:56 pm Post Subject: What is my FEIN Number?

What is my FEIN Number?

Posted: Sun May 23, 2010 03:56 pm Post Subject: What is my FEIN Number?

What is my FEIN Number?

Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 04:48 pm Post Subject:

If you have applied to the IRS for a FEIN, you would be given a number with the following numeric format: XX-XXXXXXX .

If you've never applied for a FEIN, you do not have one.

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