How Should an LLC Business File for an EIN Number?

By Anna Assad

An Employer Identification Number, or EIN, is a specific number assigned to a business by the IRS. The number is used to identify the business to the IRS and corresponding state tax departments for tax purposes. A limited liability company must apply for an EIN if required to do so under IRS or state tax rules, but the best EIN application method depends on how quickly the EIN is needed and the availability of the person applying for the company.


An LLC must apply for an EIN if the company has employees, withholds taxes on money not derived from wages of nonresident aliens or files a Excise, Employment, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms return. A company with a Keogh plan, a tax-deferred retirement plan available to unincorporated businesses, has to have an EIN, as well as a non-profit LLC or an LLC involved with mortgage investments.

Application Options

An LLC can file for an EIN through the IRS, and some states offer businesses the option of filing for the EIN through the state tax department; the number is ultimately issued by the IRS in both cases. The IRS has online and telephone methods available for receiving an EIN, as well as fax and mail-in procedures; the mail and fax options require the completion of Form SS-4. The LLC receives an EIN immediately if using the online or phone options as of 2010. The fax option can take up to four business days, while the mail-in carries a four week processing time. The online process is only available for LLCs with a principal address in the U.S. or a U.S. territory.

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LLC Information

All EIN application methods require the LLC to submit information to the IRS. The LLC must supply the legal company name, trade name (if any), principal office address and the name and Social Security number of the person responsible for the LLC. Only the personal information of one person from the LLC is needed, even if the company has more than one member. The LLC's creation date and the highest number of employees the company plans to have over the next year must be disclosed, as well as the LLC's business purpose. Paper and fax forms must be signed and dated by the responsible person.


A LLC that needs an EIN immediately should chose the Internet or phone options. As of 2010, the online process is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m., Eastern Standard Time. The phone method is available Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., local time. The "Where to File" section of the IRS' official website has the fax numbers and mailing addresses for Form SS-4, and the form can be downloaded and printed from the IRS website.

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How to Complete an SS-4 for an LLC

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.

How to Find a Company's EIN

An Employer Identification Number for a business entity is analogous to a Social Security number for an individual. The IRS uses EINs to identify businesses and track their financial data. It's relatively easy to find a company's EIN if the company is a non-profit organization or if the company's stock is publicly traded.

How to Fill Out an SS-4 for a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is used to provide for the needs of an individual with a disability. It ensures that government benefits are properly spent and allows family members and others to put money aside to continue care into the future. The trust is an independent entity and must file income tax returns, just like a business. To file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the trust must obtain a taxpayer identification number (TIN), also known as an employer identification number (EIN), that the IRS will use to track the trust while it remains in existence.

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