3 Ways to Look Up Your EIN Number (1440 x 600 px)
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3 Ways to Look Up Your EIN Number

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The IRS identifies taxpayers by their Social Security numbers, but what about businesses? From small businesses to corporations, every business has an Employer Identification Number — or EIN.

When tax season arrives, you need your EIN number to file your business taxes. There are a few easy ways to figure out your EIN so you can file taxes on time.

Do you need an EIN number?

Generally speaking, every business should have an EIN that serves as a unique identifier for that business. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may need an EIN for your business:

  • Do you have employees?
  • Is your business a corporation or partnership?
  • Do you file employment, excise, or alcohol, tobacco, and firearm taxes?
  • Do you withhold income taxes paid to a non-resident alien?
  • Do you have a Keogh plan?
  • Are you involved with a trust, estate, real estate mortgage investment conduit, non-profit organization, farmers’ cooperative, or plan administrator?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you probably need to apply for an EIN.

What is an EIN used for?

If your business is a sole proprietorship, you would file your business taxes as part of your individual tax return, which allows you to use your Social Security number.

Taxpayers who aren’t eligible for a Social Security number need to apply for an Individual Tax Identification number (ITIN). This may include nonresident aliens and dependents or spouses of nonresident alien visa holders.

How to look up your EIN 

When you start your business, you need to file Form SS-4 to receive your EIN. If you’ve already been assigned one but you can’t remember it, there are a few ways to look up an EIN number. Some methods might not work for you, so we’ll provide several options.

How you can look up your EIN
  1. Your EIN Confirmation Letter

After you apply for an EIN, you’ll receive an EIN confirmation letter from the IRS. This letter lets you know that your application was approved and includes your EIN. If you still have your EIN confirmation letter, you can look on the letter to find your EIN.

If you’re just applying for an EIN, make sure you keep your EIN confirmation letter somewhere safe. You should keep copies of all your small business tax forms for at least 3 years after you file, but you might want to keep them on hand for the long term, that way you can reference them if you need to.

  1. Business Documents

Your EIN is a unique identifying number for your business, which means you have to use your EIN when you’re filing a tax return or opening a bank account for your business. If you had to provide your EIN on an application or business document, try looking for it there.

When you submit an application or receive a business-related document in the mail, keep a copy of it on hand so you can always find your EIN and other basic information about your business. It’s easy to scan, upload, and store these documents digitally. You can even create a folder on your computer to keep all of these documents in one place so the information is easier to locate.

Keep in mind that some business documents may not include your EIN, and some may only show part of your EIN. If you have any documents that show your full EIN number, store them somewhere safe for the future.

3. IRS

If you don’t have any previous tax returns, bank account statements, or your EIN confirmation letter, you can contact the IRS to find your EIN. Call the Business & Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933 from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

When you call for an IRS EIN number lookup, make sure you’re ready to provide identifying information. If you’re authorized to receive your EIN, the IRS will provide it over the phone. Some examples of an authorized person include:

  • A sole proprietor
  • A partner in a partnership
  • A corporate officer
  • A trustee of a trust
  • An executor of an estate

If you’re not authorized or can’t provide the identifying information the IRS requests, you won’t be able to receive your EIN over the phone.

Businessman looking at his phone while sitting at his desk.

What if you need to look up another business’s EIN?

Every commercial organization that does business in the US needs to have an EIN, so you may want to look up another business’s EIN to verify that it’s a legitimate business.

While you can technically look up the EIN of another business, it depends on the type of business you’re dealing with. Finding the EIN of a public business is easy, but private businesses may be more difficult.

Ways to look up a business’s EIN

If you’re planning on hiring or working with a business and you want to make sure everything is accurate, you have a few options for finding another business’s EIN.

  1. From the business

The easiest way to figure out the EIN of another business is to contact the business owner directly. As long as you have a good reason for requesting an EIN, many business owners will be happy to provide one to verify their business.

Call the business you’re inquiring about and try to get an executive or owner on the phone. As long as you clearly explain why you’re asking for their EIN, many business owners will be happy to help.

Keep in mind that business owners don’t have to provide their EIN at your request. Most legitimate businesses will provide an EIN if you’re a reputable business owner or contractor, but they don’t have to.

  1. IRS

While the IRS can’t provide the EIN of another business to a non-authorized person, you can contact a business owner or authorized person to have them retrieve their EIN on your behalf. They can call the Business & Specialty Tax Line to find out their EIN.

An EIN is essentially an SSN for a business, it can be used for identity theft. Therefore, the IRS limits who can obtain the information to authorized persons to limit this from happening. If you reach out to a business owner and they don’t know their EIN, have them call the IRS at (800) 829-4933 to find their EIN.

What if you need a new EIN?

When the ownership or structure of a business changes, you may need to register for a new EIN. You can apply for an EIN online to receive a new EIN for your business, but you should make sure you need a new EIN before applying for one.

Visit the Do you need a new EIN? page on the IRS website to determine whether you need a new EIN for your business. The rules change based on your business structure, so make sure you’re looking at the right type of business.

You don’t need an EIN if you change the name of your business. That being said, there are other steps you have to take after changing your business name. You can visit the IRS website to learn more about what to do after changing your business name.

What if you need to cancel an EIN?

You need an EIN if you’re doing taxes as a business, but what if you decide to close your business? While you can’t cancel your EIN through the IRS, you can contact the IRS to close your business account.

If you decide to close your business account, you need to write to the IRS with:

  • Full legal name of your entity
  • EIN
  • Business address
  • Reason for closing the account

The IRS will use this information to close your account.

If you have a copy of your EIN Assignment Notice, you should attach a copy of that to the letter you send to the IRS. Send your letter and additional support as needed to the following address:

Internal Revenue Service

Cincinnati, OH 45999

Keep in mind that you may be required to pay outstanding business taxes, pay any remaining employment taxes, as well as file the final tax returns before you can close your business. 

No matter what moves you made last year, TurboTax will make them count on your taxes. Whether you want to do your taxes yourself or have a TurboTax expert file for you, we’ll make sure you get every dollar you deserve and your biggest possible refund – guaranteed.

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