An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit tax ID number that helps the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) identify businesses, non-profit organizations, trusts, estates, church organizations, and a variety of other entities. Although called an “employer” number, an EIN is critical for a range of purposes, and church or church controlled organizations need this number whether they have employees or not. Wondering how to apply for an EIN for a church organization? Here’s what you need to know.
Steps to Applying for Tax ID (EIN) Number for a Church Organization
- Prepare Mandatory Business Information
- Apply for a Church Organization Tax ID (EIN) Number Online
- Apply for a Church Organization Tax ID (EIN) Number via Mail or Fax
- How Do I Obtain a Tax ID (EIN) Number for my Church Organization?
- How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Tax ID (EIN) Number for my Church Organization?
- Why Do I Need a Tax ID (EIN) Number for my Church Organization?
When you apply for an EIN, you need to supply the government with identifying details about your church organization and about the
person or entity who is responsible for your organization. By preparing mandatory information before you start the application, you save time during the process and avoid potential hurdles. Whether you apply for a church organization tax ID (EIN) number online, via mail, or over fax, you need the following pieces of information:
- Legal name of your church organization
- Address, phone/fax number, and other contact details for your church organization
- The name of the “care of” person who is authorized to receive correspondence from the government
- Care of person’s tax ID such as Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), etc
- Number of employees
- Whether your church employees are agricultural, household, or other
- Whether you expect your
payroll tax liability to be over $1,000 during the current accounting year
- Last date of your church organization’s accounting year
Although all church organizations need an EIN, you still need to note why you are applying for this number. If applicable, you can choose a reason such as hiring employees, becoming compliant with IRS withholding regulations, dealing with banking issues, or creating a pension plan, but you can also choose “other” and note that you need an EIN simply due to being a church controlled organization.
Once you have prepared mandatory information, you are ready to start the EIN application process. If you need your number quickly, you should apply online. When you apply for an EIN online, you can often get a number for your church organization the same day you submit the application. Then, you can use your number on employee tax documents, banking forms, informational tax returns, and any other documents your church needs to submit to the federal government.
Sometimes, you may not be in a position to apply for a church organization EIN online. For instance, if you’re working on a mission in a remote area without internet access, you may need to explore another application method. Luckily, you can also apply over fax or through the mail. To take one of these routes, you need to obtain a paper copy of the EIN application.
The paper application requires the same details as the web-based application. You can prepare the details ahead of time, or you can find the information you need slowly as you fill out the form. Once you’re done, look over the EIN application to ensure you didn’t miss anything, and then, pop the form onto the fax machine or into a mailbox.
Your church organization can obtain a tax ID EIN online or through the mail or fax. If your organization is based in another country, you have the option to apply over the phone. In all cases, you should review the above list of necessary information and try to gather as many details as possible before you start to apply. Then, you decide how you want to apply (online, fax, mail, or phone if applicable). You simply provide the required details, and you sit back and wait for your number. Once you have the EIN, you can start using it immediately.
Here’s the good news about applying for an EIN – you can receive the number fairly quickly if you apply online. Generally, online applications get processed almost immediately, and you receive your number the day of application. In select cases, you may need to wait until the next business day.
With mailed or faxed applications, you need to give yourself a bit more leeway. In these cases, you should apply for the number long before you need it. In particular, faxed applications take about four days to get processed (provided you remembered to include your return fax number) and mailed applications take about four to six weeks to get processed.
As indicated above, all church organizations need an EIN, but you may still be wondering why you need this number. Ultimately, you use your church’s EIN on any documents you submit to the federal government as well as on a variety of banking documents. In particular, churches and church controlled organizations may end up using an EIN for the following:
- Filing payroll tax forms
- Submitting excise tax forms
- Completing informational tax returns
- Opening bank accounts
- Applying for loans and lines of credit
- Creating pension plans for your employees
- Withholding taxes for independent contractors based on other countries
Those are just some of the ways your church organization may use an EIN. As you continue to work on your ministry, you may find yourself using this number for other purposes as well. Note that the EIN is a federal tax ID. In some cases, you may also need to obtain a state tax ID number as well as an EIN.