How your name control is assigned

When you applied for your Employer Identification Number you provided the name of your business, which is used to assign your name control and will remain so unless you request a name change. If you did not use a business name and instead used your individual name, your name control will be the first four letters of your last name. For example, John Q. Public applied for an EIN using John Q. Public and did not use a business name. The name control assigned would be PUBL. If your last name has fewer than four characters, your name control is your last name. For example, Jane Doe would have a name control of DOE. If you applied for your EIN using a business name, the name control is assigned from the first four characters of your business name.

There are some special rules for name controls:

  • The ampersand (&) and hyphen (-) are the only special characters allowed in the name control.
  • The name control can have fewer, but no more than four characters.
  • Spaces or blanks are not part of a name control. For example, the name control for Joe Doe Trucking is JOED.
  • The word “The” at the beginning of your business name is not used in your name control when it is followed by more than one word. Include the word “The” when it is followed by only one word. Examples: The Willow Co. name control is "WILL". The Hawthorn name control is "THEH".
  • Blanks may be present only at the end of the name control.
  • Do not include "dba" as part of the name control.

To help determine the name control for Hispanic, Asian and other ethnic surnames, see the Exhibits at the end of Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers and TransmittersPDF.