General Instructions

Use these instructions to complete Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN). Also see Do I Need an EIN? on page 2 of Form SS-4.

Purpose of Form

Use Form SS-4 to apply for an EIN. An EIN is a nine-digit number (for example, 12-3456789) assigned to sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, and other entities for tax filing and reporting purposes. The information you provide on this form will establish your business tax account.

An EIN is for use in connection with your business activities only. Do not use your EIN in place of your social security number (SSN).

Reminders

Apply online.   Generally, you can apply for and receive an EIN on IRS.gov. See How To Apply, later.

This is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service at IRS.gov.

File only one Form SS-4.   Generally, a sole proprietor should file only one Form SS-4 and needs only one EIN, regardless of the number of businesses operated as a sole proprietorship or trade names under which a business operates. However, if a sole proprietorship incorporates or enters into a partnership, a new EIN is required. Also, each corporation in an affiliated group must have its own EIN.

EIN applied for, but not received.   If you do not have an EIN by the time a return is due, write "Applied For" and the date you applied in the space shown for the number. Do not show your SSN as an EIN on returns.

  If you do not have an EIN by the time a tax deposit is due, send your payment to the Internal Revenue Service Center for your filing area as shown in the instructions for the form that you are filing. Make your check or money order payable to the "United States Treasury" and show your name (as shown on Form SS-4), address, type of tax, period covered, and date you applied for an EIN.

Election to file Form 944.   Eligible employers may now elect to file Form 944 annually instead of Forms 941 quarterly. See Line 14. Do you want to file Form 944? on page 5 for details.

Electronic filing and payment.   Businesses can file and pay federal taxes electronically. Use e-file and the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).
  • For additional information about e-file, visit IRS.gov.

  • For additional information about EFTPS, visit www.eftps.gov or call EFTPS Customer Service at 1-800-555-4477, 1-800-733-4829 (TDD), or 1-800-244-4829 (Spanish).

Federal tax deposits.   New employers that have a federal tax obligation will be pre-enrolled in EFTPS. EFTPS allows you to make all of your federal tax payments online at www.eftps.gov or by telephone. Shortly after we have assigned you your EIN, you will receive instructions by mail for activating your EFTPS enrollment. You will also receive an EFTPS Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you will use when making your payments, as well as instructions for obtaining an online password.

   For more information on federal tax deposits, see Pub. 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide.

How To Apply

You can apply for an EIN online, by telephone, by fax, or by mail, depending on how soon you need to use the EIN. Use only one method for each entity so you do not receive more than one EIN for an entity.

Online.   Taxpayers and authorized third party designees located within the United States and U.S. possessions can receive an EIN online and use it immediately to file a return or make a payment. Go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov/businesses and click on Employer ID Numbers.

Taxpayers who apply online have an option to view, print, and save their EIN assignment notice at the end of the session. (Authorized third party designees will receive the EIN, however, the EIN assignment notice will be mailed to the applicant.)

Applicants who are not located within the United States or U.S. possessions cannot use the online application to obtain an EIN. Please use one of the other methods to apply.

Telephone.   You can receive your EIN by telephone and use it immediately to file a return or make a payment. Call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933 (toll free). The hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. local time (Pacific time for Alaska and Hawaii). The person making the call must be authorized to sign the form or be an authorized designee. See Third Party Designee and Signature on page 6. Also see the first TIP on page 2.

  

Note.

International applicants must call 1-267-941-1099 (not toll free).

  If you are applying by telephone, it will be helpful to complete Form SS-4 before contacting the IRS. An IRS representative will use the information from the Form SS-4 to establish your account and assign you an EIN. Write the number you are given on the upper right corner of the form and sign and date it. Keep this copy for your records.

  If requested by an IRS representative, mail or fax the signed Form SS-4 (including any third party designee authorization) within 24 hours to the IRS address provided by the IRS representative.

  
Taxpayer representatives can apply for an EIN on behalf of their client and request that the EIN be faxed to their client on the same day. Note. By using this procedure, you are authorizing the IRS to fax the EIN without a cover sheet.

Fax.   Under the Fax-TIN program, you can receive your EIN by fax within 4 business days. Complete and fax Form SS-4 to the IRS using the appropriate Fax-TIN number listed below. A long-distance charge to callers outside of the local calling area will apply. Fax-TIN numbers can only be used to apply for an EIN. The numbers may change without notice. Fax-TIN is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  Be sure to provide your fax number so the IRS can fax the EIN back to you.

Mail.   Complete Form SS-4 at least 4 to 5 weeks before you will need an EIN. Sign and date the application and mail it to the service center address for your state. You will receive your EIN in the mail in approximately 4 weeks. Also see Third Party Designee on page 6.

Call 1-800-829-4933 to verify a number or to ask about the status of an application by mail.

Form SS-4 downloaded from IRS.gov is a fill-in form, and when completed, is suitable for faxing or mailing to the IRS.

Where to File or Fax

If your principal business, office or agency, or legal residence in the case of an individual, is located in: File or fax with the “Internal Revenue Service Center” at:
One of the 50 states or the District of Columbia Attn: EIN Operation 
Cincinnati, OH 45999 
 
Fax-TIN: 859-669-5760
If you have no legal residence, principal place of business, or principal office or agency in any state or the District of Columbia: Attn: EIN Operation 
Philadelphia, PA 19255-0525 
 
Fax-TIN: 267-941-1040

How To Get Forms and Publications

Internet.   You can download, view, and order tax forms, instructions, and publications at IRS.gov.

Phone.    Call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) to order forms, instructions, and publications. You should receive your order or notification of its status within 10 workdays.

DVD for Tax Products.   For small businesses, return preparers, or others who may frequently need tax forms or publications, a DVD containing over 2,000 tax products (including many prior year forms) can be purchased from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS).

  To order Pub. 1796, IRS Tax Products DVD, call 1-877-233-6767 or go to www.irs.gov/cdorders.

Tax help for your business is available at www.irs.gov/businesses/.

Related Forms and Publications

The following forms and instructions may be useful to filers of Form SS-4.

  • Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering.

  • Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities).

  • Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return.

  • Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers.

  • Form 941, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return.

  • Form 944, Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return.

  • Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return.

  • Instructions for Form 990-T.

  • Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

  • Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a).

  • Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship).

  • Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Farming.

  • Instructions for Form 1041 and Schedules A, B, G, J, and K-1, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.

  • Form 1042, Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons.

  • Instructions for Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income.

  • Instructions for Form 1066, U.S. Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) Income Tax Return.

  • Instructions for Forms 1120.

  • Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return.

  • Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation.

  • Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative.

  • Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization.

  • Form 8832, Entity Classification Election.

  • Form 8849, Claim for Refund of Excise Taxes.

For more information about filing Form SS-4 and related issues, see:

  • Pub. 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide;

  • Pub. 51 (Circular A), Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide;

  • Pub. 538, Accounting Periods and Methods;

  • Pub. 542, Corporations;

  • Pub. 557, Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization;

  • Pub. 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records;

  • Pub. 966, The Secure Way to Pay Your Federal Taxes for Business and Individual Taxpayers;

  • Pub. 1635, Understanding Your EIN.


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