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How to Apply for an EIN

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Applying for an EIN is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service. Beware of Web sites on the Internet that charge for this free service.

If you are a home-care service recipient who has a previously assigned EIN either as a sole proprietor or as a household employer, do not apply for a new EIN. Use the EIN previously provided. If you can not locate your EIN for any reason, follow the instructions on the Lost or Misplaced Your EIN? Web page.

Apply Online

The Internet EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN. Once the application is completed, the information is validated during the online session, and an EIN is issued immediately. The online application process is available for all entities whose principal business, office or agency, or legal residence (in the case of an individual), is located in the United States or U.S. Territories. The principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor etc. must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (Social Security Number, Employer Identification Number, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) in order to use the online application.

Apply by Fax

Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 (PDF) application to their state fax number (see Where to File Your Taxes (for Form SS-4)), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information. If it is determined that the entity needs a new EIN, one will be assigned using the appropriate procedures for the entity type. If the taxpayer's fax number is provided, a fax will be sent back with the EIN within four (4) business days.

Apply by Mail

The processing timeframe for an EIN application received by mail is four weeks. Ensure that the Form SS-4 (PDF) contains all of the required information. If it is determined that the entity needs a new EIN, one will be assigned using the appropriate procedures for the entity type and mailed to the taxpayer. Find out where to mail Form SS-4 on the Where to File Your Taxes (for Form SS-4) page.

Apply by Telephone – International Applicants

International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN. The person making the call must be authorized to receive the EIN and answer questions concerning the Form SS-4 (PDF), Application for Employer Identification Number. Complete the Third Party Designee section only if you want to authorize the named individual to receive the entity’s EIN and answer questions about the completion of Form SS-4. The designee’s authority terminates at the time the EIN is assigned and released to the designee. You must complete the signature area for the authorization to be valid.

Other Important Information

Daily Limitation of an Employer Identification Number

Effective May 21, 2012, to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service will limit Employer Identification Number (EIN) issuance to one per responsible party per day. This limitation is applicable to all requests for EINs whether online or by fax or mail. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Responsible Party

In order to identify the correct individuals and entities applying for EINs, language changes have been made to the EIN process. Refer to Responsible Parties and Nominees to learn about these important changes before applying for an EIN.

Third Party Authorization

The Third Party Designee section must be completed at the bottom of the Form SS-4. The Form SS-4 must also be signed by the taxpayer for the third party designee authorization to be valid. The Form SS-4 must be mailed or faxed to the appropriate service center. The third party designee's authority terminates at the time the EIN is assigned and released to the designee.


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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 10-Oct-2014