Form SS-4

Form SS-4, or the Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN) form, is the form required by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to apply for an EIN. An EIN is a unique, 9-digit number assigned to business entities as a form of identification for tax purposes.

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What is Form SS-4?

Form SS-4 is available for all entities whose principal place of business or legal residence is in the United States. The form is most often submitted online, though it is possible to apply for an EIN via fax (approximately 4 day turnaround), via paper mail (approximately 4 week turnaround) and by telephone (only for international applicants).

Eligibility requirements for SS-4 are straightforward. If you answer YES to any of the following questions, you need an EIN:

  • Do you have employees?
  • Do you operate your business as a corporation or a partnership?
  • Did you file any of these tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms?
  • Do you withhold taxes on income, other than wages, paid to a non-resident alien?
  • Do you have a Keogh plan?
  • Are you involved with any of the following types of organization?
  1. Trusts, except certain grantor-owned revocable trusts, IRAs, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Returns
  2. Estates
  3. Real estate mortgage investment conduits
  4. Non-profit organizations
  5. Farmers' cooperatives
  6. Plan administrators

If you answer YES to any of the above questions, you will need an EIN.

Quick Tip - Applying online is the fastest way to get an EIN. Do not use your SSN in lieu of an EIN! 

What do I need to file Form SS-4?

If you are confident you are eligible for an EIN (hint: if your principal business is located in the United States and you have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number [TIN]), you just need basic identifying information of your business.   

Be sure to know the following:

  • Legal name (and trade name, if different) of the entity for whom the EIN is being requested
  • Contact information for the above
  • Name of responsible party, contact information, and SSN/ITIN/EIN 
  • Type of business entity (e.g, Partnership, C-Corp, etc.) 
  • Various business metrics around expected number of employees (if any), closing month of accounting year, principal business activity (e.g., construction, finance, etc.) and related information.

Interactive Form

1
Legal name of entity (or individual)
2
Trade name of business
3
EX, Adm, trustee, “care of” name
4
Mailing address
5
Street address
6
City, state, and ZIP code
7
City, state, and ZIP code
8
County and state of the business
9
Name of responsible party
10
SSN, ITIN, or EIN
11
Is this for an LLC?
12
Enter the number of LLC members
13
Was the LLC organized in The US?
14
Type of entity
15
Name the state or foreign country
16
Reason for applying
17
Date business started or acquired
18
Closing month of accounting year
19
Employee count in the next 12 months
20
File Form 944 annually?
21
First date wages or annuities paid
22
Choose what describes your business
23
Principal line for goods and services
24
Write previous EIN here
25
Applicable if form is for someone else.
26
Name and title
27
Applicant’s telephone number
28
Signature and Date
29
Applicant’s fax number
1,63,101
2,65,129
3,343,129
4,63,158
5,343,159
6,64,185
7,344,185
8,65,211
9,66,239
10,392,239
11,40,263
12,557,264
13,48,288
14,41,318
15,279,415
16,42,457
17,45,528
18,555,517
19,43,571
20,381,551
21,43,625
22,43,656
23,43,693
24,43,723
25,65,760
26,177,826
27,503,825
28,87,848
29,503,854

Frequently asked questions about the Form SS-4

Why do I need an EIN; isn’t my SSN enough?

No. A social security number is a unique identification number assigned to you as an individual. An EIN is a unique tax identification number assigned to a business entity.

You may use an SSN as a tax ID number only if you are a business entity that meets certain requirements for exemptions. The most common example of this is a sole proprietor with no employees and no intent to hire them. In this example, the business and entity are the same; therefore, it is permissible to use an SSN in lieu of an EIN.

What does it cost to apply for an EIN?

It is free to apply for an EIN through the IRS. However, it can take a tremendous amount of time if not done correctly. If you're having trouble or need help filing, GOV+ is here to help!

Who needs an EIN?

If you are a business structure that is any of the following:

  • Corporation;
  • Partnership;
  • Or Limited liability company (LLC)

OR

  • If you are aiming to file for bankruptcy;
  • Have employees or plan to have employees in the future;
  • Offer or want to offer a solo 401(k) or Keogh retirement plan;
  • Are considering buying a solo proprietorship;
  • Are involved with trusts, IRAs, estates, non-profit organizations, farmers’ cooperatives, plan administrators, estates, real estate mortgage investment conduits, or exempt organization business income tax returns;
  • File any of Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms tax returns
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Download Form SS-4