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Using the Correct Name Control in e-filing Partnership Tax Returns



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Q1. What is a name control?

A1. A name control is a sequence of characters derived from a taxpayer’s name that is used by IRS in processing the tax return filed by the taxpayer.  It is important that the combination of name control and taxpayer identification number (TIN) provided on an electronically filed return match IRS’s record of name controls and TINs.

A name control is established by the IRS when the taxpayer requests an Employer Identification Number (EIN).  The IRS creates the name control from the legal name listed on the Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number.

When a return or extension is filed, the IRS checks whether a name/TIN combination is correct by matching it against a file containing all employer identification numbers (EIN) issued by IRS.

The name control listed on the return/extension is then compared to the name control on the IRS file. If it matches the name control in our records, it is considered to be correct.

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Q2. Why is the name control important?

A2. In e-file, a taxpayer's Employer Identification Number (EIN) and name control in the Return Header must match the data in the IRS e-file database. If the EIN and name control do not match, the e-filed return will reject and generate an Error Reject Code.

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Q3. Can I verify my partnership’s name control prior to e-filing?

A3. Yes.  IRS recommends that partnerships that have any question about the name control they will use in their e-filed tax return verify it before filing.  Here are ways name controls can be verified:

  1. Review the rules in the Business Name Control matrix that is in FAQ 4 below.
  2. If you have an IRS representative on-site, you may contact them for assistance.
  3. Call the Business & Specialty Help Line at 1-800-829-4933 for assistance.  You must qualify in one of the following categories to receive assistance:
  • Be a Tax Matters Partner
  • You are designated as the Paid Preparer and the paid preparer checkbox on the return is checked for the last filed return (The designation expires one year after the due date of the return in question. There are no exceptions or extensions to the expiration date)
  • Have or provide a Form 8821 Tax Information Authorization authorizing you  to discuss the partnership’s entity information
  • Have or provide a Form 2848 Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative authorizing you  to discuss the partnership’s entity information

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Q4. How can I determine my partnership’s name control using the Business Name Control matrix?

A4. The name control consists of up to four alpha and/or numeric characters.  It can be determined from the information specified on the first name line.  Generally, the name control is derived from the first four characters of the partnership name. An ampersand (&) and hyphen (-) are the only special characters allowed in the name control. The name control can have less, but no more than four characters. Blanks may be present only at the end of the name control.

Note: Do not include ''dba'' as part of the name control. The initials stand for ''doing business as”.

Business Name Control Valid Characters:

  • Numeric (0- 9)
  • Alpha (A-Z)
  • Hyphen (-),
  • Ampersand (&)

Special Business Name Control Rule:
If an invalid character is used in the name line, drop the special character from the taxpayer's name. Example: should be “JOEC”. Another example is The name control should be “4UCO”.


Business Name Control Matrix

Name Control

Name Control Rule


Sumac Field Plow Partnership

11th Street LLC

P & P Consulting

Y-Z Drive LLP

ZZZ Club

John Hackberry LLP


OAK! Tree









Derive the name control from the first four significant characters of the partnership name. 

Blanks may be present only at the end of the name control.

The Willow LLC

The Hawthorn



When determining a partnership's name control, include the word “The” when it is followed by only one word.

John What & Mary Who

Hawthorn, Willow & Hackberry



Determine the name control from the first four letters of the first partner’s last name.

Michael Woods & Joseph Light, Ptrs
dba M&J Furniture



If the business or a trade name is present and it can be determined that the trade name is for a partnership, follow the Name Control procedures for partnerships.

Derive the name control from the first four significant characters of the partnership name.

Blanks may be present only at the end of the name control.

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Q5. What do I do if my return rejects because of an EIN/Name Control mismatch?

  1. Ensure that the Employer Identification Number (EIN) is correct.
  2. Review the rules in the Business Name Control matrix.
  3. If you get a reject because of an EIN/Name Control mismatch, please call the e-Help Desk at 1-866-255-0654 and follow the prompts for assistance.

    Note: The e-Help Desk cannot disclose individual account information, please refer to Q3 and Q10.

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Q6. Will the IRS only provide the Business Name Control to the ERO when the Paid Preparer checkbox on the return has been checked? 

A6. Yes. The ERO must qualify in one of the following categories to receive assistance:    

  • Be a Designee, this may include the ERO if the taxpayer has checked the authorization box on the Form 1065 and the request is made within one year of the due date of the return
  • See FAQ 3(3) for additional categories

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Q7.  Can anyone from the ERO’s firm call to request EIN/Name Control information or will the IRS only speak to the Paid Preparer signer?

A7.  No. For the returns with the Paid Preparer checkbox, the third party designee authorization applies only to the individual whose signature appears in the "Paid Preparer's Use Only" section of the return.  It does not apply to the firm, if any, shown in that section.

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Q8.  How will the IRS verify disclosure of information?

A8.  The Business & Specialty line will determine who is authorized to receive account-specific information by asking a series of questions as outlined in the Internal Revenue Manual.


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Q9.  Will the IRS discuss EIN/Name Control issues with the ERO for a rejected Form 7004 since there is no authorization checkbox on the form?

A9.  To receive account-specific information, the ERO must be authorized. See FAQ 6.


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Q10. What is the timeframe for responding to a Name Control issue?

The Accounts Management Representative (1-800-829-4933) can provide immediate assistance to taxpayers or their authorized representative in obtaining the Name Control while on the phone, provided proper authorization is secured and disclosure requirements are met.

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Q11. Am I still required to file electronically if I officially requested and was approved for a name/entity change; however my return rejected because of an EIN/Name Control Mismatch?

A11. Yes. If you submitted a name change and the e-filed return rejected for a Name Control/ EIN mismatch, you should check the “Name Change” checkbox on the return and retransmit the return.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 04-Nov-2015