June 17, 2024
Learn how to find your EIN number for your business with this step-by-step guide. Discover the common mistakes to avoid and alternative methods for obtaining your EIN number.


If you’re starting a business in the United States, one of the first things you’ll need to do is apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN is a unique identification number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax and other purposes. This article will guide you through the process of finding your EIN number in five easy steps, as well as providing alternative methods and case studies to ensure you’ll be ready to take on business matters like a pro.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Find Your EIN Number

Overview of the Process

The process of finding your EIN number through the IRS website is easy and straightforward. All you need to do is follow these five steps:

Step 1: Determine if You Need an EIN

The first step in obtaining your EIN number is to determine if your business actually needs one. According to the IRS, most businesses need an EIN if they have employees, operate as a partnership or corporation, or file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. If you’re still not sure, the IRS website has a handy questionnaire to guide you through the process.

Step 2: Gather the Necessary Information

Before you begin your application, you’ll need to gather the required information. This includes your business name, legal structure, address, and Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification number. You’ll also need to provide the name and Social Security number of a responsible party, such as the business owner or CEO.

Step 3: Navigate to the IRS Website

To begin the application process, navigate to the IRS website and click on the “Apply for an EIN online” button. Alternatively, you can call the IRS directly to apply over the phone.

Step 4: Complete the Online Application

Once you’re on the IRS website, you’ll be prompted to fill in the necessary information. The online application is straightforward, and should only take a few minutes to complete. Once you’ve provided all the required information, you’ll be issued an EIN number immediately.

Step 5: Save and Record Your EIN Number

It’s important to save and record your EIN number once you’ve received it. Your EIN will be used for business and tax purposes, so keeping it in a secure and easily accessible location is crucial. Additionally, if you forget or lose your EIN number, the IRS can provide a duplicate, but it takes time and effort to obtain.

Video Tutorial: How to Find Your EIN Number

Overview of the Tutorial

If you’re a visual learner, we’ve provided a video tutorial to guide you through the process of finding your EIN number. The video demonstrates each step with clear and easy-to-follow instructions and includes a written summary of each step for reference.

Demo of Each Step with Accompanying Text

Here’s a quick rundown of the steps covered in the video:

  1. Determine if you need an EIN
  2. Gather the necessary information
  3. Navigate to the IRS website
  4. Complete the online application
  5. Save and record your EIN number

Common Errors and How to Avoid Them

Common errors when obtaining an EIN number include misspelling information, not including all required information, and using your personal Social Security number (SSN) instead of an EIN. To avoid these errors, double-check your information before submitting your application, and make sure you have all the required information handy. It’s also important to make a clear distinction between your personal SSN and your business EIN.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Finding Your EIN Number

Explanation of Why Mistakes Happen

Mistakes often happen when finding your EIN number due to the amount of information required and confusion surrounding the process. Additionally, the importance of the EIN number can cause added pressure and stress, leading to mistakes.

Common Errors: Misspelling Information, Not Including All Required Info, Using Your Personal SSN Instead of EIN

As mentioned above, common errors include misspelling information, not including all required information, and using your personal SSN instead of an EIN. To avoid these errors, take your time when filling out the application, and double-check your information before submitting it.

Tips for Avoiding Mistakes

Take your time when filling out the application, and make sure to have all the necessary information on hand before starting the process. Additionally, it’s important to understand the distinction between your personal SSN and your business EIN.

Alternative Methods for Obtaining an EIN Number

Overview of the IRS Method

While the IRS website is the most popular way to obtain an EIN number, there are alternative methods available. One option is to apply through the mail, which can take up to four weeks to process.

Explanation of Alternative Methods (Third-Party Services, Tax Professionals)

Another option is to use third-party services or tax professionals to obtain your EIN number. While these methods may be faster and more convenient, they usually come with an additional cost.

Pros and Cons of Each Method

The pros of using the IRS website include its ease of use and free of charge. The cons include the potential for mistakes and typos, added pressure and stress, and the time required in case of lost numbers. The pros of alternative methods include faster processing times and the convenience of utilizing a third-party service or tax professional. The cons include additional costs and potential communication issues.

Recommendations for Choosing a Method

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each method, and choose the one that fits your needs best. If you’re comfortable using the IRS website and applying for an EIN number yourself, it’s the most convenient and cost-effective method. If you need help or assistance, a third-party service or tax professional may be the way to go.

Case Studies: Real-World Examples of Finding EIN Numbers

Interviews with Business Owners and Tax Professionals

To provide a real-world perspective on finding EIN numbers, we’ve conducted interviews with business owners who have successfully obtained EIN numbers, as well as tax professionals who have helped their clients with the process. The interviews include best practices and tips for finding your EIN number, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each method.

Summary of Key Takeaways

After analyzing the case studies, the key takeaways include the importance of taking your time and double-checking your information, understanding the distinction between your personal SSN and your business EIN, and exploring alternative methods if needed.


Recap of Main Points

Remember, finding your EIN number doesn’t have to be a stressful or complicated process. By following the steps outlined in this article, taking your time, and double-checking your information, you’ll be well on your way to obtaining your EIN number and getting your business started.

Final Thoughts

Don’t hesitate to seek help or assistance if needed, and explore alternative methods if the IRS website isn’t the best fit for you. Obtaining an EIN number is crucial for conducting business in the US, so take the time to get it right.

Call to Action

If you’re struggling to obtain your EIN number, don’t hesitate to seek assistance. Contact a tax professional or consider using a third-party service to make the process easier and less stressful. Remember, the sooner you obtain your EIN number, the sooner you can get your business started.

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