General Instructions

Use these instructions to complete Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN). Also see Do I Need an EIN? on page 2 of Form SS-4.

Future Developments

For the latest information related to Form SS-4 and its instructions, such as legislation enacted after they were published, go to www.irs.gov/ss4.

Purpose of Form

Use Form SS-4 to apply for an EIN. An EIN is a nine-digit number (for example, 12-3456789) assigned to sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, and other entities for tax filing and reporting purposes. The information you provide on this form will establish your business tax account.

See Form SS-4PR (for Puerto Rico) for the Spanish-language version of Form SS-4.

An EIN is for use in connection with your business activities only. Don't use your EIN in place of your social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).

Reminders

Apply for an EIN online.   For applicants in the U.S. or U.S. possessions, you can apply for and receive an EIN free of charge on IRS.gov. See How To Apply for an EIN, later.

File only one Form SS-4.   Generally, a sole proprietor should file only one Form SS-4 and needs only one EIN, regardless of the number of businesses operated as a sole proprietorship or trade names under which a business operates. However, if a sole proprietorship incorporates or enters into a partnership, a new EIN is required. Also, each corporation in an affiliated group must have its own EIN.

For information about EINs and federal tax deposits, see Pub. 15, Pub. 51 and Pub. 80.

To ensure fair and equitable treatment for all taxpayers, EIN issuances are limited to one per responsible party, per day. For trusts, the limitation is applied to the grantor, owner, or trustor. For estates, the limitation is applied to the decedent (decedent estate) or the debtor (bankruptcy estate). This limitation is applicable to all requests for EINs whether online, telephone, fax, or mail.

How To Apply for an EIN

You can apply for an EIN online (only for applicants in the U.S. or U.S. possessions), by telephone (only for applicants outside of the U.S. or U.S. possessions), by fax, or by mail, depending on how soon you need to use the EIN. Use only one method for each entity so you don't receive more than one EIN for an entity.

Apply for an EIN online.   If you have a legal residence, principal place of business, or principal office or agency in the U.S. or U.S. possessions, you can receive an EIN online and use it immediately to file a return or make a payment. Go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov/businesses and click on Employer ID Numbers.

  The principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor, etc. must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, EIN, or ITIN) in order to use the online application. 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.)

If you have NO legal residence, principal place of business, or principal office or agency in the U.S. or U.S. possessions, you can't use the online application to obtain an EIN. Please use one of the other methods to apply.

Apply by telephone—option available to international applicants only.   If you have NO legal residence, principal place of business, or principal office or agency in the U.S. or U.S. possessions, you may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number), 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday, to obtain an EIN.

  The person making the call must be authorized to receive the EIN and answer questions concerning Form SS-4. 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.

Note.

It will be helpful to complete Form SS-4 before contacting the IRS. An IRS representative will use the information from Form SS-4 to establish your account and assign you an EIN. Write the number you're given on the upper right corner of the form and sign and date it. Keep this copy for your records.

  If requested by an IRS representative, mail or fax the signed Form SS-4 (including any third party designee authorization) within 24 hours to the IRS address provided by the IRS representative.

  
IRS no longer issues EINs by telephone for domestic taxpayers. Only international applicants can receive an EIN by telephone.

Apply by fax.   Under the Fax-TIN program, you can receive your EIN by fax generally within 4 business days. Complete and fax Form SS-4 to the IRS using the appropriate fax number listed in Where To File or Fax, later. A long-distance charge to callers outside of the local calling area will apply. Fax-TIN numbers can only be used to apply for an EIN. The numbers may change without notice. Fax-TIN is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  Be sure to provide your fax number so the IRS can fax the EIN back to you.

Apply by mail.   Complete Form SS-4 at least 4 to 5 weeks before you will need an EIN. Sign and date the application and mail it to the appropriate address listed in Where To File or Fax, later. You will receive your EIN in the mail in approximately 4 weeks. Also see Third Party Designee, later.

  Call 1-800-829-4933 to verify a number or to ask about the status of an application by mail.

Form SS-4 downloaded from IRS.gov is a fillable form and, when completed, is suitable for faxing or mailing to the IRS.

Where To File or Fax

If you have a principal place of business, office or agency, or legal residence in the case of an individual, located in: File or Fax to:
One of the 50 states or the District of Columbia Internal Revenue Service 
Attn: EIN Operation 
Cincinnati, OH 45999 
 
Fax: (859) 669-5760 
If you have no legal residence, principal office or principal agency in any state or the District of Columbia (international/U.S. possessions) Internal Revenue Service 
Attn: EIN International Operation 
Cincinnati, OH 45999 
 
Fax: (859) 669-5987

How To Get Tax Help, Forms, and Publications

Tax help for your business is available at www.irs.gov/businesses.

You can download or print all of the forms and publications you may need on www.irs.gov/formspubs. Otherwise, you can go to www.irs.gov/orderforms to place an order and have forms mailed to you. You should receive your order within 10 business days.

Related Forms and Publications

The following forms and instructions may be useful to filers of Form SS-4.

  • Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering.

  • Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities).

  • Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return.

  • Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers.

  • Form 941, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return.

  • Form 944, Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return.

  • Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return.

  • Instructions for Form 990-T.

  • Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

  • Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a).

  • Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship).

  • Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Farming.

  • Instructions for Form 1041 and Schedules A, B, G, J, and K-1, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.

  • Form 1042, Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons.

  • Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding.

  • Instructions for Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income.

  • Instructions for Form 1066, U.S. Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) Income Tax Return.

  • Instructions for Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return.

  • Form 1120S, U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation.

  • Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return.

  • Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation.

  • Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative.

  • Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization.

  • Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party — Business.

  • Form 8832, Entity Classification Election.

  • Form 8849, Claim for Refund of Excise Taxes.

For more information about filing Form SS-4 and related issues, see:

  • Pub. 15, Employer's Tax Guide.

  • Pub. 51, Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide.

  • Pub. 80, Federal Tax Guide for Employers in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

  • Pub. 538, Accounting Periods and Methods.

  • Pub. 542, Corporations.

  • Pub. 557, Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization.

  • Pub. 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records.

  • Pub. 966, Electronic Choices to Pay All Your Federal Taxes.

  • Pub. 1635, Understanding Your EIN.


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