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Form SS-4 & Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Question: Does a small company that operates as a sole proprietorship need a tax ID number?


  • A sole proprietor who does not have any employees and who does not file any excise or pension plan tax returns does not need an employer identification number (EIN) (but can get one if they choose). In this instance, the sole proprietor uses his or her Social Security number as the taxpayer identification number. However, at any time the employer hires an employee or has to file an excise tax return, they will need a new, separate EIN.
  • If you have an existing EIN as a sole proprietor and become a sole owner of an LLC (Limited Liability Company) that has employees, you need to get a separate EIN to file employment taxes.

Additional Information:

Category: Small Business, Self-Employed, Other Business
Subcategory: Form SS-4 & Employer Identification Number (EIN)

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The OMB number for this study is 1545-1432.
If you have any comments regarding this study, please write to:
IRS, Tax Products Coordinating Committee
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224