Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service. Beware of websites on the Internet that charge for this free service.
All EIN applications (mail, fax, electronic) must disclose the name and Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, or EIN) of the true principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner or trustor. This individual or entity, which the IRS will call the “responsible party,” controls, manages, or directs the applicant entity and the disposition of its funds and assets. Unless the applicant is a government entity, the responsible party must be an individual (i.e., a natural person), not an entity.
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.
Apply by Fax
Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 (PDF) application to the appropriate 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 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.
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.
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 extends to "newly" assigned EINs only and terminates at the time the EIN is assigned and released to the designee.
Home-Care Service Recipient
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 cannot locate your EIN for any reason, follow the instructions on the Lost or Misplaced Your EIN? webpage.