If your business needs an EIN (that’s an employer identification number), it takes about 5 minutes on the IRS website and you can get one for free. I mention this because I found a company online that will do it for you for $75. For an extra $75, they’ll put a rush on it. So you can pay $150 for the rush job, or you can do it yourself for free in less time than it takes to fill out their online payment agreement.
The first step is to go to the IRS website. This link will take you right to the EIN page.
This page has links to a lot of information so it’s pretty useful. It also has the link to go to the EIN application. The online application has limited working hours, you’re not going to be able to file the application at 3 in the morning. They’re basically open from 6 am until a little after midnight Monday through Friday with limited weekend service.
Before you actually apply for an EIN, think–do you really need one? If you’re a corporation or a partnership, the answer is yes. If you are an LLC, that means you are a limited liability company-that does not make you a corporation, so just because you are an LLC doesn’t mean you need to have an EIN. Other reasons for needing an EIN include if you have employees, need to pay excise taxes, are a non-profit organization, trust or estate.
You might not need an EIN per IRS standards, but it may be beneficial to your business anyway. For example: if you work as an independent contractor and do not want to give your social security number out or you are setting up a bank account in your business name. Some vendors won’t give you business discount rates unless you have an EIN number, and I had one client who needed one because a vendor wouldn’t work with her at all because she didn’t have an EIN and she really needed the account.
Generally,iIf you are working as a contract laborer and filing your return as a sole proprietor, it’s most likely that you do not need to have an EIN number.
Applying for the actual EIN: I recommend using the online application. The application is presented in an interview style format. It asks questions, you answer them and when you get to the end. voila’ you have an EIN number. It sort of has a dummy proof mode too that let’s you tab back if you’ve answered a question incorrectly. I recommend having access to a printer when you do it so that you can print out your new EIN when you’re done. You don’t want to lose that number once you’ve got it.
Before you do the online application, you might want to check out the written application form so that you have all of your information handy before you apply: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss4.pdf
To go straight to the online application, click this link:
On little glicth, for some reason, if you need an EIN because you receive home health care services, you can’t apply for your EIN online, you have to use another application method. I suggest calling on the toll free number: 1 (800) 829-4933. That’s the toll free number for the tax and business specialty hot line. You will have to wait on hold for awhile, but it’s still faster than using the mail.