An Employer Identification Number, or EIN, is a nine-digit identification number assigned by the IRS to business entities, trusts, estates and certain individuals, and used to identify tax accounts. A Limited Liability Company, or LLC, may apply for an EIN by mail, telephone or online. Applying by mail means waiting for for the EIN four to six weeks; applying by fax takes one to two weeks; applying by telephone leaves the LLC without a copy of the application for its records; applying online is simple and convenient, and provides an LLC with a copy of its application for its records.
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Go to the EIN Assistant on the IRS website (see Resources). Click “Begin Application.”
Select “Limited Liability Company (LLC)” to answer the question “What type of legal structure is applying for an EIN?” Click “Continue.”
Read “You have chosen Limited Liability Company.” Click “Continue.”
Enter the number of members in the LLC. From the drop-sown menu, select the state in which the LLC is located. Click “Continue.”
Click “Continue” to confirm your selection. Multi-member LLCs will be taxes as a partnership.
Select one answer to the question “Why is the LLC requesting an EIN?” Your choices are “Started a new business,” “Hired employee(s),” “Banking purposes,” “Changed type of organization” or “Purchased active business.” Click “Continue.”
Select an answer to the question “Who is the Responsible Party of the LLC?" Your choices are “Individual” or “Existing business.” Click “Continue.”
Enter the information of the responsible party. Enter the name and social security or taxpayer identification number of the responsible party. Enter the business name and EIN number for an existing business responsible party. Select “I am one of the owners, members, or the managing member of this LLC” or “I am a third party applying for an EIN on behalf of this LLC,” then click “Continue.”
Input the address of the LLC and click “Continue.” Input the requested information, including the name of the LLC and the start date, and then click “Continue.”
Answer each question on the “Tell us more about the LLC” page by clicking either “Yes” or “No,” then click “Continue.” Answer each question on the “Describe your employees” page, then click "Continue." This step is skipped if you've previously answered that you will not have employees.
Answer “How would you like to receive your EIN Confirmation Letter?” by selecting “Receive letter online” or “Receive letter by mail.”
Review and print the “Summary of your information.” You will not be able to return to the summary page later, so keep this printout for your records. Click the "Submit" button.
Wait up to two minutes while your application is being processed. The EIN is issued immediately. Print a copy of the EIN Confirmation Letter using Adobe Reader.
- Adobe Reader or PDF program
Tips & Warnings
Download and install Adobe Reader. You will need Adobe reader in order to receive an online confirmation.
Online applications are only available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. EST, Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, and Sunday from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. EST.
Apply for an EIN by telephoning the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933 Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The EIN is issued immediately. However, there will be no written record of the LLC’s application for an EIN.
By default, multi-member LLCs are taxed as partnerships. If you do not want to be taxed as a partnership, file Form 8832, “Entity Classification Election,” to elect corporate status, or Form 2553, “Election by a Small Business Corporation,” to elect "S" corporation status.
If the LLC is organized outside of the United States or its territories, you cannot apply for an EIN online, but rather must call the IRS at 215-516-6999.
References & Resources
- IRS: EIN Assistant: Important Information Before You Begin
- Publication 1635: Understanding Your EIN
- IRS: How Long Will it Take to Get an EIN?
- IRS: EIN Assistant:: LLC
- IRS: Form SS-4 (2010), Application for Employer Identification Number
- IRS: Publication 334 (2009), Tax Guide for Small Business
- IRS: Responsible Parties and Nominees
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