Here are a few tips for small businesses, trusts, estates, charities and others about the Employer Identification Number or EIN. The EIN serves as a tax ID number for businesses and organizations. First, only the IRS can issue an EIN and it's a free service. Second, you can visit irs.gov/ein, answer a few questions and get your EIN immediately online. Third, know who will be the "responsible party" on the application. Generally, a responsible party is someone in control. And, it must be an individual. You must provide the responsible party's Social Security number. Fourth, always keep your EIN information up to date. You need to report changes in responsible party to the IRS using Form 8822-B within 60 days. Use the same form to report changes in address. Finally, your assigned EIN is yours for life. The number is never discontinued. If you close your business, write to the IRS to close your tax account. This is important and will help prevent identity theft. To learn more visit irs.gov/ein.