Topic 755 - Employer Identification Number (EIN) – How to Apply

An employer identification number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS. It is used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain others who have no employees. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers that are required to file various business tax returns. EINs are used by employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profit associations, trusts, estates of decedents, government agencies, certain individuals, and other business entities. If you already have an EIN and the organization or ownership of your business changes, you may need to apply for a new number. For more information, refer to Do You Need an EIN on the IRS.gov website or Publication 1635 (PDF), Understanding Your EIN.

Daily Limitation of an Employer Identification Number

Since May 21, 2012, to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all taxpayers, the IRS limits EIN issuance to one per responsible party per day. This limitation is applicable to all requests for EINs whether online, by fax or mail. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

There are three ways to apply for an EIN:

  1. Online
  2. Fax, and
  3. Mail

Online: The Internet is the preferred method to use when applying for an EIN. The online EIN application is available Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time; visit www.irs.gov. The information submitted is validated during the online session. Once completed, an EIN is issued immediately. 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.) The online application 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. Additionally, the principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor, etc. must have a valid taxpayer identification number (social security number, EIN, or individual taxpayer identification number) in order to use the online application. The online application is not available to third party designees or for entities with foreign addresses (including Puerto Rico). Visit www.irs.gov and search the term EIN for more information.

By Fax: You may obtain an EIN by completing Form SS-4 (PDF), Application for Employer Identification Number, and faxing it to the IRS for processing. The IRS Fax-TIN numbers are provided in the Form SS-4 Instructions (PDF). An EIN applied for by fax will be issued within 4 business days. Fax-TIN is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

By Mail: You may also obtain an EIN by completing the Form SS-4 and mailing it to the IRS service center address listed on the Form SS-4 Instructions. Ensure that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information. An EIN will be assigned and mailed to you within 4 to 5 weeks.

Apply by Telephone – International Applicants:

International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) 6 a.m. to 11 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.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: March 20, 2014