FEIN - Federal Employer Identification Number

by Ganesh » Mon Sep 03, 2007 06:44 am
Posts: 2
Joined: 03 Sep 2007

Businesses use the FEIN number to identify themselves for tax reporting, banking and other reasons. Just like Social Security Number is specific to a certain person, the FEIN number is also specific to a certain business.

What is a FEIN number?

FEIN or Federal Employer Identification Number is also known as Federal Tax Identification Number. This 9 digit code is used by businesses in order to classify and identify them as a tax payer, for banking services and other official and legal purposes. Businesses with no employees and sole proprietorship may use the Social Security number for tax reporting. But for companies with employees must have FEIN or Federal Employer Identification Number. For each business owned by the same person, a different FEIN number would be required. It is unique to a business just like Social Security number is unique to an individual.

How to apply for FEIN?

Although an application for FEIN may take weeks to get processed, it is actually very easy to apply for FEIN.

You may collect an SS-4 Form from the office of IRS or the Social Security Office, fill it out and send it to the office of IRS. There is no application fee. Make sure you send it through registered post to guarantee the safe delivery of your form. You can download PDF version of IRS SS-4 form from here.

IRS has launched their interview style application for FEIN where they ask you certain questions online and update their system based on the information that you provide them. There is no form to fill out and there is no lengthy process of waiting for the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) either. If you are using their system of interview style application:
  • You don't need to fill out an SS-4 form and send it to the IRS office anymore
  • You don't have to get into the lengthy process of application for FEIN
  • You must answer the online questionnaire provided by them
  • IRS will then validate the data that you have provided
  • You will receive your EIN number immediately after successful verification

IRS allows you to make an online application.

How to find FEIN number?

If you are looking for the FEIN of a company you may locate it using several different ways. Following are few of the ways you can locate EIN:
  • For public companies you may check out the 10-Ks, 20-Fs and other SEC filings. These companies often print the EIN on the first page of such filings. These SEC filings may be found through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR database. It is free of charge.
  • For non-profit organizations you may check Form 990 in order to get the EIN. These organizations often include their EIN on this form that provides financial information and the names of executives of these companies. You may check Guide Star to access the database where you can find the Form 990 of several organizations. This is a free service.
  • Private companies may have it in their company website or the company invoice. You may use the website of KnowX which is a commercial vendor that allows you to search using a FEIN that displays a list of relevant results. You may be required to pay for their services.

Why do you need FEIN?

Following are a few situations when the Federal Employer Identification Number is required:
  • For starting a new business which is not a sole proprietorship
  • Purchase of an ongoing business
  • Any change in the organization type
  • When hiring employees for the first time
  • To create a pension plan in office
  • To form a trust

Can I use FEIN to purchase insurance?

Federal Employer Identification Number works best with businesses and not with purchasing insurance. Insurance companies prefer your Social Security Number rather than your Federal Employer Identification Number.

How is FEIN compared to Social Security Number?

FEIN is used by employers, partnerships, sole proprietors, non-profit organizations, trusts, corporations, estates, government agencies and other business entities. Employers may choose to use either their Social Security Number (SSN) or their FEIN for reporting taxes withheld on behalf of their employees. However, the credit bureaus and credit issuers can tell between SSN and FEIN.

Related Readings

What is a FEIN number?

Total Comments: 127

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 05:01 pm Post Subject: cannot obtain from a business

did a paid out to a business, B&G Towing, Crew's Towing, All-Over Towing (?) Name on receipt was All-Over Towing, had been marked out and Crews hand written to the right, called for EIN#, (7 requests) still will not give EIN#, business located at 541 Macy Grove Rd., Kernersville, NC 27284, what next?

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 04:40 am Post Subject:

IRS regulations require a Form W-9 to be filled out by any vendor who is expected to be paid $600 or more in a tax year. This information is used to provide the required Form 1099 at year-end.

If you are not getting cooperation from the vendor, you should do one of two things: (1) write the vendor a very strongly worded letter indicating that you are ready to make a complaint to the local field office of the IRS if they fail to return the enclosed Form W-9 within 5 business days. If they don't comply, then file the complaint.

Or (2) bypass the letter to the vendor and go directly to the IRS field office with the matter.

I would recommend (1) as your first course of action.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 08:27 pm Post Subject:

so FEIN is only for business?

FEIN is the abbreviation for:

Federal Employer Identification Number

It is required of any "person" who must file a payroll tax return and deliver Form W2 to employees. That could be an individual or a business (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLP, LLC, or corporation). It includes governments and government agencies, as well as colleges, universities, and churches, synagogues, and mosques.

Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:33 pm Post Subject: Can I use my already existing FEIN to start another business

Can I use my already existing FEIN to start another business?

I currently have a business license (LLC) in the state of Hawaii... I would like to start another LLC, possibly in a different state, relating to a completely different type of business, and was wondering if I need to obtain a new FEIN number for the new business.

Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 03:53 am Post Subject:

Yes . . . unless you intend to commingle everything and get yourself in trouble with all manner of taxing authorities.

Two separate businesses . . . two separate FEINs.

Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 03:55 am Post Subject:

Yes . . . unless you intend to commingle everything and get yourself in trouble with all manner of taxing authorities.

Two separate businesses . . . two separate FEINs.

Posted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 06:29 pm Post Subject: FEIN

Great post and very thorough. Could there be a bit of confusion toward the end of the article? It states you should use SSN to purchase insurance, then goes on to explain that you use FEIN for corps, partnerships, etc.

It seems to me that the purpose of FEIN is to identify a business. I would never use my SSN to purchase insurance for my corp. The corporate veil may be compromised if I mix personal information with corporate info. What are your thoughts?

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 04:28 am Post Subject:

When you review the IRS guidance for FEIN, you'll see that since a corporation, partnership, LLC, or LLP cannot have a SSN, it must have a FEIN. Sole-proprietors who have employees are encouraged to obtain a FEIN.

Persons who are in the United States to conduct business but do not intend to seek residency status yet may have a personal income tax liability as a result of their business activities (or investments) applies for a TIN (Taxpayer ID Number).

Although not prohibited, however, the IRS prefers that self-employed sole-proprietors who are not incorporated, and who do not have or intend to have employees, use their SSN for tax reporting purposes rather than a FEIN so that they do not list multiple numbers referring to themself on the same return (in addition to that of a spouse as joint filer and children or other dependents). Just too confusing.

Hope this helps.

Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:54 am Post Subject: Fein no of Crown oil corp.

I have been searching for the Fein no. of Crown oil Corp used to be located at 351 California St. Ssan Francisco Ca. 94104. It was established in the 60's but close operation in july 1990.If you cannot gve me the fein no. please inform me the procedures to find it.Thanks for your information about the pin in your publication. It is a geat help to me to undestand Fein.

Add your comment

Enter the characters shown in the image.