When you run a business, you have to communicate with the government on a regular basis. In particular, you need to submit sales and excise taxes, payroll taxes, and income tax returns, and, to ensure the government knows the forms are from your business, you need a special identifying number. That is called a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Also called a tax ID number, an FEIN is essential for your business.
Steps to apply for an FEIN (federal EIN) number online:
- Prepare Business Owner Information
- Apply for an FEIN (Federal EIN) Number Online
- Apply for an FEIN (Federal EIN) Number by Phone, Mail or Fax
- What Is the Difference Between an FEIN Number and an EIN?
- Why Do I Need to Obtain an IRS FEIN Number?
- How Do I Get an FEIN Number?
To make sure the application process goes smoothly, you should prepare business owner information before you get started. Ideally, you need the following details:
- Business owner’s name
- Business owner’s Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), Employer Identification Number (EIN) or other tax ID
- Owner’s contact information
- Name of business
- Business address and phone number
- Type of business activity
- The reason you’re applying for the EIN
Keep in mind that you also have to note your business structure on your EIN application. Because of that, you should establish your business structure before you apply for an EIN. Then, you can easily tick the box for sole proprietorship, partnership, C-Corporation, S-Corporation, personal service corporation, nonprofit organization, or any other structure that’s relevant to your situation.
If you are having a third party such as your accountant, a bookkeeper or anyone else handle the application process, you need to authorize them to act on your behalf. To do that, you need to note the designee name, address and phone number, and you have to provide your signature.
If you want to apply for an FEIN (federal EIN) number online, you need to prepare business owner information as explained above. Then, you need to start the process online. Applying online is the fastest and easiest option, and best of all, you can often get your EIN on the same day that you apply. Once you have the EIN, you can use it on tax forms or other documents right away.
To apply online, your principal business location needs to be in the United States, and you also need a U.S.-issued tax ID number. If your business is based in another country, you can’t apply online.
In addition to online applications, you can also apply for an FEIN (federal EIN) number by phone, mail or fax. However, the rules vary based on your situation. When your business is based outside of the United States, you can only apply for an EIN over the phone. If you’re wondering, “how do I get an FEIN number,” and you started your business in another country, you simply need to apply over the phone during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.
Unfortunately, you can only apply over the phone if you meet this qualification. Businesses based in the United States can only apply for an FEIN (federal EIN) number online, over fax or through the mail. Getting your number by fax or through the mail is more time consuming than applying online.
If you decide to apply for your EIN by fax, make sure to put your fax return number on your application. Then, the government can fax your new number back to you. That should take about four business days. But if you don’t include the return fax number, the government may decide to mail your EIN to your business, and that can increase the delays involved.
To apply through the mail, you need the same information that you use to apply for an EIN online, but you need a lot more time. Essentially, you fill out the application, you mail it in, and you wait. Generally, if all the details are correct, you should receive your EIN in about four weeks, but the process can take longer if the government needs additional information.
At this point, a lot of people wonder, “What is the difference between an FEIN number and an EIN?” The answer is pretty simple – these numbers are the same. EIN stands for “Employer Identification Number,” and it’s issued by the federal government. As a result, some people refer to the number as an “EIN,” while others refer to it as a “federal EIN” or an “FEIN.”
Now that you understand the answer to “how do I get an FEIN number,” you may still be asking yourself, “Why do I need to obtain an IRS FEIN number?” You need this number to hire employees. You have to include your FEIN on all employee tax forms and on forms that you remit to the IRS with Social Security contributions, Medicare premiums and withheld income taxes. However, that’s not the only reason you need an EIN.
You also use an EIN on any other business tax forms you submit to the IRS, including sales and excise tax forms. On top of that, most businesses use their EIN when they apply for bank loans, open business accounts, take out business credit cards, and do other banking for their business.
To get an FEIN number for your business, you simply need to decide if you want to apply online or through one of the other venues. Then, you need to prepare your information and start the application process. If you need help along the way, you may want to work with a professional tax ID service. The process may be easier than you think, and again, once you have the number, you can use it immediately.