Topic 755 - Employer Identification Number (EIN) – How to Apply

An employer identification number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS. It is used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain others who have no employees. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers who are required to file various business tax returns. EINs are used by employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profit associations, trusts, estates of decedents, government agencies, certain individuals, and other business entities. If you already have an EIN and the organization or ownership of your business changes, you may need to apply for a new number. For more information, refer to Do You Need an EIN and Publication 1635 (PDF), Understanding Your EIN.

Daily Limitation of an Employer Identification Number

To ensure fair and equitable treatment for all taxpayers, the IRS limits EIN issuance to one per responsible party per day. This limitation is applicable to all requests for EINs whether online, by telephone, fax, or mail. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Applying for an EIN

  1. Online
  2. Fax
  3. Mail

Online - The Internet is the preferred method to use when applying for an EIN. The online EIN application is available Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time. Once the application is completed, the information is validated during the online session, and an EIN is issued immediately. 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.) The online application 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. The principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor, etc. must have a valid taxpayer identification number (social security number, EIN, or individual taxpayer identification number) in order to use the online application. The online application is not available to third party designees or for entities with foreign addresses (including Puerto Rico). Search the term EIN on IRS.gov, for more information.

By Fax - You may obtain an EIN by completing Form SS-4 (PDF), Application for Employer Identification Number, and faxing it to the appropriate fax number (see "Where to File Your Taxes" (for Form SS-4) for processing. An EIN applied for by fax will be issued within 4 business days. Fax-TIN is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

By Mail - You may also obtain an EIN by completing the Form SS-4 and mailing it to the IRS service center address listed on the Form SS-4 Instructions (PDF). Ensure that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information. Send your completed Form SS-4 at least 4 to 5 weeks before you need your EIN to file a return or make a deposit. An EIN will be assigned and mailed to you within 4 to 5 weeks.

International EIN Applicants

There are 3 ways for international applicants to apply for an EIN:

  1. Telephone
  2. Mail
  3. Fax

By Telephone - 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. When applying by telephone, it is helpful to complete the Form SS-4 before contacting the IRS. An IRS representative will use the information from the Form SS-4 to establish your account and assign you an EIN.

By Mail - Send the Form SS-4 to Internal Revenue Service Center, Attn: EIN International Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999. Ensure that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information. Send your completed Form SS-4 at least 4 to 5 weeks before you need your EIN to file a return or make a deposit. An EIN will be assigned and mailed to you within 4 to 5 weeks.

By Fax - Fax-TIN is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can receive your EIN by fax within 4 business days. Complete and fax Form SS-4 to the appropriate fax number (see "Where to File Your Taxes" (for Form SS-4) for processing.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: June 30, 2016