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