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: Sun Nov 07, 2010 08:24 am Post Subject: FEIN #

Why do we need a FEIN # to collect unemployment insurance?

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 08:58 am Post Subject:

Why do we need a FEIN # to collect unemployment insurance?

YOU don't need a FEIN to collect unemployment, but you have to supply the FEIN of your most recent employer as part of your application for benefits so they know whose Unemployment Insurance account to charge.

It's important because employers who cause more unemployment claims get to pay higher payroll taxes as a result.

You can find your former employer's FEIN on your Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) for 2009 (if you have it), or by simply calling your former employer to ask for it. There is no reason for them not to give you the number (and it may actually be a violation of law for them not to give it to you on request).

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 07:57 pm Post Subject: FEIN request

I have a house in a Trust for my son so he can lease it and collect the rent money. My son is also one of the Trustees and I would like for him to be able to file the end of year form for that Trust to the IRS. He will be responsible to pay any due taxes to the IRS. Is this possible and can you help me fill out the form so I can establish an FEIN and give it to him, I do not know how. Pleeeeeease help me.

my email is lizziegr@yahoo.com

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 09:26 am Post Subject:

You don't apply for a FEIN, you apply for a TIN. If you have a trust, you should already have a TIN/SSN associated with it. Contact the lawyer who set up the trust.

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:38 pm Post Subject: Church F.E.I.N. numbers

Do I need any documentation to obtain an F.E.I.N. number to start a church?

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 04:43 pm Post Subject: FEIN Number


I own a restaurant, and I have just leased a second location. Do I need a second FEIN number or can I use the one for my current business for both locations? Both locations will have the same name, but they are located in different towns, both in Illinois.


Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 03:19 am Post Subject:

Do I need any documentation to obtain an F.E.I.N. number to start a church?

You simply need to fill out the form to obtain the FEIN. It can be done online (that is now the IRS' preferred method of application):

Apply Online
The Internet EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN. Once the application is completed, the information is validated during the online session, and an EIN is issued immediately. The online application process is available for all entities whose principal business, office or agency, or legal residence (in the case of an individual), is located in the United States or U.S. Territories. The principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor etc. must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (Social Security Number, Employer Identification Number, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) in order to use the online application.

For more information, visit the IRS website:


Do I need a second FEIN number or can I use the one for my current business for both locations?

It depends on how the employees will be paid. If all of the operations are under the same corporate umbrella, and corporate payroll for both locations is processed at the same time and paid from the same account, then you don't need a second FEIN. But if there is anything different about the ownership of the second location (regardless of the same business name over the door), then you may need a second FEIN.

See the above referenced IRS website for the answer to your questions.

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 03:37 pm Post Subject: Fein ?

I have recently received a FEIN # and I marked on the form that I was going to be an LLC, however, I have decided that I will be a sole proprietor. What should I do if anything?

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 06:03 pm Post Subject:

Nothing. Your intent does not affect the issue of a FEIN. However, as a sole-proprietor, if you have no employees, and do not intend to have any employees in the future, the IRS prefers that you only use your Social Security Number for business tax purposes. Makes it easier for them to find you.

Posted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 04:20 am Post Subject: FEIN versus EIN

Whats the difference between FEIN and EIN?



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