Like a social security number for individuals, an employer identification number is an IRS-issued unique identification number for your business. But while many people have their social security number memorized, business owners are often left searching for their EIN. You’re not alone! Knowing your EIN is essential for many business functions, from filing business taxes to opening a new bank account or applying for loans. If you’re left without your EIN, we have discussed three steps that enlist all the options for how do you find your EIN number.
What Is an EIN?
An EIN or employer identification number, sometimes called a Federal Tax Identification Number, is used to identify a business entity and is essential for many business purposes.
An EIN for businesses is equivalent to a social security number (SSN) for individuals. You’ll need this unique nine-digit number to file business taxes, pay employees, open bank accounts, get loans and more.
When you open a business, including establishing an LLC or corporation, you can apply for an EIN with the IRS through form SS4. Learn how to get form SS4 here. You can even apply for an EIN without a social security number. In most cases, it takes four weeks or less to get an EIN.
Why Do You Need to Know Your EIN?
Business owners use an EIN to file taxes, open bank accounts, create a US Paypal account, create a Stripe account, obtain a business license, or apply for a business loan. When you receive your EIN confirmation letter, keep the letter with other important business documents and, ideally, memorize the EIN. If you have a wrong EIN or EIN error, it’s important to double-check it and rectify any errors. Fortunately, if you need to know where the EIN is, there are simple ways to recover it.
How Do You Find Your EIN Number?
Most businesses have multiple documents containing their EIN sitting around, including the EIN confirmation letter, loan documents, bank statements, and other business documents. Here is where you can check for the EIN:
1. Check Your EIN Confirmation Letter
The easiest way to find your EIN is to check the IRS confirmation letter you received with the number on approval. The EIN appears in the upper right-hand side of the document. You can look through the paper and digital business files to see if you saved a copy when you applied.
You would have received the confirmation letter in the same manner you applied for the EIN. If you applied by fax, you would have received the confirmation by fax. If you applied by mail, you would have received the confirmation in the mail.
If you applied for an EIN online, this original IRS document is available online. However, when you apply online, you have the option to receive the letter through traditional mail. For this reason, if you applied online, you could have received the EIN confirmation online or in the mail.
If you find it, it’s important to store the EIN confirmation letter with key business paperwork securely. If you don’t find the EIN confirmation letter, below are nine more options to find your EIN.
2. Review Business Documents
If your EIN letter remains elusive, you may have other documents in the office that contain your EIN information. However, this will require additional creativity, as many business documents block out all but the last few digits of an EIN. Here is a list of places to check, in order of priority:
Official Tax Notices from the IRS
Any official tax notice from the IRS sent to your business will mention the EIN in the upper-right-hand corner.
Old Federal Tax Returns
Old federal tax returns would require you to input the EIN to file business taxes. If you have any old tax returns on file, or if you can access them through an online tax filing service like TurboTax, you can access the EIN.
Business Licenses and Permits
You need the EIN to apply for business licenses and permits. If you have license applications for any business activities, check for the spot on the form requesting the EIN.
Business Credit Report
Business credit reports also use the full company EIN to track credit scores. These reports show the company’s credit scores, report of activity, and the company’s EIN. You can easily look up your business credit report for free online.
Old Business Loan Applications
Business loans require an EIN. If you have old business loan applications on file, that is a place to locate the company’s EIN easily.
Business Bank Account Statements or Online Account Profile
Business bank account statements or online bank accounts are required to have your EIN on file. You should be able to access bank statements online by logging into your bank’s website or app.
Some banks will hide all but the last 4 digits of the EIN for security, but you can request the statement with the full EIN. They will ask you to verify your identity, and then you should be able to access the statement instantly.
Payroll paperwork, such as 1099 forms you’ve received as an independent contractor or issued to independent contractors, will have to include the EIN. You can check for individual payroll paperwork. If you hire an accountant or payroll service, they will be able to help you locate the EIN.
3. Call the IRS
The third option to find a missing EIN is to call the IRS directly. They have a Business and Specialty Tax line dedicated to helping businesses. You can call them at 800-829-4933 from Monday through Friday between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm local time.
How to Look Up Another Business’s EIN?
If you need to look up another business’s EIN, it is quite easily available than expected. You may need the EIN for risk assessment or verification purposes before doing business with them. Some of the options to look up another company’s EIN are the same as mentioned above:
- Check the company’s credit report.
- Contact the company’s accounting department and request EIN information.
- Search state and federal websites. The Secretary of State in the state where the business is located, or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) if the company is publicly traded, are good options.
- Hire a third party if you cannot find another company’s EIN. They will charge a fee and provide the EIN for the requested business.
Final Tips on Managing Business Finances
Your EIN is essential for so many business functions that it pays to memorize it. Even if you can’t find the EIN letter, it’s clear you have many other options to get the EIN. It’s not lost for good! If you need help managing the finances of your business to focus on growth, doola bookkeeping services can help keep track of your EIN, manage accounting, and even make filing business taxes stress-free.
Can I search for an EIN on the IRS’s website?
You cannot search the IRS’s website for your business EIN or that of other companies. However, your EIN is available on the EIN confirmation letter, previously-filed business tax returns, or financing documents. You can also call the IRS to get your business’s EIN or check another company’s credit report to find their EIN.
Can your business’s identity be stolen with the EIN?
Yes, unfortunately, if someone steals your business’s EIN, they could use that to open lines of credit, file fraudulent tax returns, or make significant expenses on behalf of the business. Protecting your EIN is important to prevent ID theft or business fraud.
Can I use the same EIN for another business?
You can use the same EIN for multiple businesses if the other businesses aren’t established as separate legal entities (like a corporation or LLC). For example, if you’re a sole proprietor of multiple businesses, you can use the same EIN for all the businesses. But, if they are separate legal entities, such as an LLC for non-US residents or an LLC in Illinois, you will need a different EIN for each business.
How do you cancel an EIN?
Once an EIN is assigned to a business, it is the permanent federal taxpayer identification number for that business entity. An EIN is never reused or reassigned by the IRS. However, you can send a letter to the IRS requesting to close your business account and cancel the EIN.
You’ll need to include the business’s legal name, EIN, business mailing address, and the reason you wish to close the business. You can mail the request to: Internal Revenue Service, Cincinnati, OH 45999.
Is an EIN required for all small businesses?
Not all small businesses need to apply for an EIN. However, if you pay employees, file tax returns for employment, withhold taxes on income or wages, operate as a corporation, or work with certain types of corporations, you’ll need an EIN as a small business.