You need your business’s Employer Identification Number or EIN to file taxes or for tax forms when paying employees or contractors. This nine-digit tax identification number is integral to the day-to-day operations of your business, from opening a business bank account to registering the business in a new city or state. But it’s not uncommon for business owners to misplace their EINs. If you find yourself wondering, “What do I do? I lost my EIN number!” you’re not alone. Read on for six easy ways to find it again.
Why Is Keeping Your EIN Important?
Keeping your EIN is important for business security and regular operations. If you lose your EIN, others could get access to your IRS records. This could put confidential and important financial information at risk. Others could use confidential information to access your bank account or impact your business credit score. However, that is rare.
In most cases, your EIN is somewhere in your business paperwork where no one—including you—can find it. That’s a problem because you’ll need it to open a new business bank account, update business registration, apply for a business license for an LLC, pay independent contractors (Form 1099), file business taxes, or apply for a business loan.
Do You Need to Get a New EIN Number if You Lost Your Old One?
No, you don’t need to get a new EIN number if you lost the old one. Instead, you’ll want to focus on locating it within your business documents or with the IRS. It is relatively simple to retrieve your EIN with a step-by-step guide.
6 Easy Ways to Locate Your Lost EIN Number
When you find yourself digging through paperwork thinking, “I lost my EIN number!” instead of panicking, follow these steps to easily locate your EIN today.
1. Find Your EIN Confirmation Letter
When you fill out Form SS-4 to apply for the EIN, the IRS sends a confirmation letter. This letter is the first place to look. How you receive that letter depends on whether you requested the confirmation letter online or via mail.
If you asked for it by mail, you might have the original document sitting around. If you asked for it online, you may be able to access it digitally or have it stored on your computer.
2. Check Your Email
If you applied for the EIN online and requested a digital copy, you might have it stored in your email. Likewise, if you emailed information for opening a bank account, applying for a business loan, or emailed Form 1099 to independent contractors, you might have the EIN stored in your email. A search in your email for these types of communications or the words “EIN” or “Form 1099” may turn up the missing EIN.
3. Check Your Business Records
Many business records will have your EIN. This includes federal tax returns, communications or notices from the IRS, business loan applications or approvals, business credit reports, and more. Here’s where to check on each:
- Federal Tax Returns: Your EIN will appear at the top right of your federal income tax return, Form 11020. Or, you can check on the top of Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return.
- Notices from IRS: Notices from the IRS will typically include your EIN with your business name and address. If you have any IRS notices, you should be able to find the EIN there.
- Business Bank Account Statements: Business bank statements will typically show your EIN with other business information. If the statement only shows the last four digits of the EIN, you can call the bank to confirm the full EIN number (see point 4 below).
- Business Loans: Business loan approvals and business loan applications have the full EIN. You can check the business loan application documents you filled out or business loan approval letters.
- Business Credit Report: If you have a copy of your business credit report for loan applications, that will have your EIN. You might also be able to access your credit report through a business credit card without supplying the full EIN number. Experian and Equifax, two of the main credit bureaus, include the full EIN on the credit reports.
- Payroll Paperwork: Payroll paperwork will include both the employee’s social security number and your EIN number, so this is a simple place to find your EIN.
4. Call Your Bank
If you have a business bank account, you can call your bank and request the full EIN. They will ask for verification of other information like your bank account number, address, or the branch you opened the account before providing the EIN. This is a quick way to get your EIN if you’re away from the office or don’t want to look through paperwork or emails.
5. Reach Out to the Service that Filed Your EIN
If you used an online service or an accountant to file your EIN, they usually store a copy of both the original SS-4 application and the EIN confirmation letter received from the IRS. They should be able to provide you with a copy of the EIN.
6. Call the IRS
Finally, you can call the IRS directly on their Business and Specialty Tax Line. The number is 1-800-829-4933 and they are available from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm local time on weekdays. You can also request an EIN verification letter from the IRS.
Securing your EIN
Once you find your EIN, it’s worth storing a copy with important business paperwork to make sure you never have to search for it again. As a business owner, there are so many things vying for your attention that you don’t want to worry about a missing EIN. Doola understands that you’re busy, and you need the best tools to support business growth so you can focus on developing and delivering greater value.
Doola’s bookkeeping services can help make bookkeeping stress-free. It’s designed for busy founders like you. Also, check out Doola’s other tools and resources to make running and growing a business easier.
What documents do you need to provide to IRS to retrieve your lost EIN number?
When you call the IRS to retrieve your EIN, they will ask for identification information before supplying the number over the telephone, as long as you’re authorized to receive it. If you’re a sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, a corporate officer, a trustee of a trust, or an executor of an estate, they will provide you with the relevant EIN.
How long does it take to retrieve a lost EIN number?
You could retrieve a lost EIN number in a few minutes with the steps above.
Can I retrieve my lost EIN number if I am not the original owner of the business?
Yes, you can retrieve a lost EIN number if you are the current registered business owner. If you have access to business records, including any of the documents listed above, you should have a copy of the EIN number already.
When do I need to apply for a new EIN number?
You only need to apply for a new EIN number when you form a new business entity. If you’ve lost your EIN, there are ways to retrieve it (see above).
Can I apply for a new EIN number without a Social Security Number?
Yes, you can apply for an EIN number if you don’t have a Social Security Number. However, if you have a Social Security Number you need to include it when applying for an EIN.