Just like the Social Security Number is essential to an individual, an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is an important tax identifier for a business. It is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and used as the primary identification number for your business.
Losing this number can put you in a problematic situation as there are many transactions that your business can not undertake without this number. Therefore, in this article, we will show you how to look up a lost or forgotten EIN.
Why is EIN Important for a Business?
As earlier mentioned, the most crucial purpose for an EIN is to identify a business for federal tax purposes. However, there are many other reasons you might need EIN for your business. They include:
- Opening business bank accounts
- Getting small-business loans and credit cards
- Applying for a business license
- Hire employees (EIN required)
- other business legal documents, like legal representation.
All businesses must have an EIN. This number serves as the primary business identification number to the federal government. I also referred it to as 95 number or tax ID number.
Therefore, it is advisable to acquire an EIN for your business as soon as possible. Not only as a legal requirement, but an EIN is also beneficial for your business and crucial for various business purposes. The good news is, it is effortless to apply and acquire an EIN. You can do this online and get a confirmation within minutes.
If you are applying from abroad, you might not be able to apply online, but you can apply through telephone, fax, or mail. If you are applying through telephone, have your SS-4 form already pre-prepared with answers as the agent will ask some questions that need these answers.
Otherwise, just send in your SS-4 form through the mail or fax. Although these methods are not as efficient, you will get your EIN confirmation within a few weeks. To learn more about the benefits of EIN visit Paymentcloud.
How to Do an EIN Lookup
Although very unlikely, it is possible to lose or forget your EIN. After all, an EIN is different from SSN that you use frequently. Therefore, it is vital to keep the number in a place that is easily accessible so that you can retrieve it when you need it.
However, in case you lose it nonetheless, here are the best ways to look up your business EIN.
Check your EIN confirmation letter or email
The easiest way to find the number is to retrieve the EIN registration confirmation letter or email. This is the official confirmation communication from IRS confirming that your business has been issued an EIN. The letter will show all your business identification information, including the tax ID(EIN).
Whether the confirmation is a letter, or a mail depends on the method you used to apply. If you applied for your business EIN online, you will most likely have received instant confirmation on your mail. However, if you sent in your application through mail or by fax, you will need to retrieve a manual letter.
Remember that a business EIN confirmation letter is a vital document and should be kept safely together with other important company documents like incorporation documents and business bank details.
Check Anywhere Your EIN Could Be Recorded
Another easy option is to check previous documents where the EIN could be stamped. Your first stop should be your precious federal tax returns. If your business has not filed returns yet, check on loan application documents, permit application forms, and other official documents that require the tax identification number.
You will likely find a record somewhere – assuming this is not the first time you have used your business EIN since you applied for it. If you can’t find any, then it proves that your filling and documentation process is flawed and we recommend taking better care of your company documents.
Contact the IRS to Find Your EIN
If all the above methods fail, you will need to contact IRS to lookup your EIN. You can call in between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time. An agent will ask you a few questions, and they will retrieve your business EIN.
If the issue is due to a recently changed EIN, there is a probability you will not find the number using the above methods. Therefore, calling IRS should be your first option.
Also, ensure that the person contacting the IRS is authorized to transact on behave of the business. For example, a partner in a partnership or a corporate officer.
Does My Business Need to Reapply for a New EIN?
There are various situations where your business might need a new EIN. For example, a company will need a new EIN if the ownership or business structure has changed.
Contrary to popular belief, a business doesn’t necessarily require an EIN change when the business name is changed. However, you need to visit the Business Name Change page and confirm the actions necessary for a legal business name change nonetheless.
Here are some of the reasons you might need to change your business EIN.
- Switch to a partnership.
- Change ownership (still as a sole proprietorship)
- Bankruptcy proceeding.
- Change to a partnership or sole proprietorship.
- The company becomes a subsidiary of another company.
- Business merger – creating a whole new company.
- The secretary of state issues a new charter to the company.
- Turn into a sole proprietorship
- Change of partnership
Limited Liability Company (LLC), trusts, and estates also have conditions that might need their EIN changed.
So how do you look up a business EIN?
Keeping your essential business documents in a safe place is necessary. However, it is entirely understandable that as a small business owner, all the business needs competing for your attention might lead you to forget or misplace your business EIN.
Therefore, it is okay! Take a deep breath! All you need to do is look it up. Also, keep in mind that looking up and retrieving a business EIN is straightforward and does not require the services of a professional. Follow the steps mentioned above, and you will easily find your business EIN.