Employer Identification Numbers, or EIN’s
If you’ve taken the leap into the entrepreneurial world of “business ownership”, then you may find yourself immersed in a world that speaks a language that is business savvy, and difficult for the untrained ear to understand. One of the most important terms, however, will be the choices concerning your form of business, business ownership, and entity status. The decisions made about these topics will determine your need for an EIN. An EIN, or Employer Identification number is a number the IRS uses to identify taxpayers that are required to file various business tax returns. EIN’s are used by employers, corporations, partnerships, trusts, and estates just to name a few.
Perhaps the greatest determining factor concerning the need for an EIN is your choice of business organization. Are you a Sole Proprietor, a Partnership, or a Corporation?
If you are an individual operating a business, as a sole proprietor without employees or partners, or without the need to incorporate, then you are not required to apply for an EIN.
Most of the other forms of business organization will require the use of an EIN. These forms include corporations, estates, trusts, multiple businesses operated by a single individual, or if you are a sole proprietor subject to a bankruptcy proceeding.
Next, there is the actual application process. The IRS designates form SS-4 as the Application for Employer Identification Number. All the necessary instructions, forms, and most frequently asked questions can be accessed via the internet at www.IRS.gov , or hard copies may be obtained at your local IRS office. The internet IRS site also gives detailed information concerning the location of your local IRS office.
The length of time required to obtain your EIN will vary depending upon the method of application you chose. Online applications provide immediate EIN’s, while faxed or mailed applications can take up to 6 weeks for processing and EIN receipt.
EIN’s will be necessary for filing employment and excise tax, withholding tax, federal, state and local taxes withheld from employees pay, by lending institutions for proper tax identification, and of course when the yearly business tax return is filed.
In summary, if your business requires a separate identity, the IRS requires an EIN. It is the means by which the IRS identifies, tracks, records, and stores any information associated with a particular business. The EIN crosses all federal, state and local tax lines, and will be used for the life of your business. Protect is carefully, and use it wisely.