The Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used by the Internal Revenue Service to identify a business entity. You may also see this number referred to as a federal tax identification number. While most businesses will need to have an EIN, some exceptions to this requirement exist, such as if your limited liability company (LLC) is a single-member LLC.
Can You Have an LLC Without an EIN?
All multi-member LLCs require an EIN, regardless of whether they are taxed as a partnership or have elected to be taxed as a corporation.
However, the situation for single-member LLCs is a little different. Unless a single-member LLC has elected to be taxed as a corporation, the IRS treats it as a disregarded entity. This means the LLC's income is treated as the owner's income for federal income tax purposes.
A single-member LLC that's treated as a disregarded entity is not required to obtain an EIN unless it has:
- One or more employees
- Excise tax liabilities
Additionally, if you make any changes that result in your LLC not being classified as a disregarded entity, you will need to apply for an EIN. For example, if you add a member to your LLC so it's no longer a single-member LLC, you will need to get an EIN.
What Is My LLC's Tax ID Number?
An LLC that's treated as a disregarded entity generally will not use its own EIN for any reporting or filings that are required for income tax purposes. Instead, the LLC must use either the owner's Social Security number (SSN) or the owner's EIN. This is the case even if you have obtained an EIN for your LLC.
However, for certain excise tax or employment tax filings, the LLC will be required to use its own EIN. For those filings, then, you would need to provide the LLC's EIN, and not the SSN or the EIN of the LLC's owner.
Should I Get an EIN for My LLC?
Even if you're not required to obtain an EIN for your LLC, your LLC might benefit from having one. For example, most banks require LLCs to provide an EIN in order to open a bank account. You can apply for an EIN even though you're not required by the IRS to have one.
How Do I Obtain an EIN for My LLC?
Applying for an EIN is an easy process, and no fees are involved. You have three options:
- Online application: You can submit an online application for an EIN directly through the IRS website. This is the quickest way to obtain an EIN, as it will be issued to you immediately after your information has been validated at the end of your online session.
- Application by fax: You can apply for an EIN via fax, by sending Form SS-4 (PDF) to the appropriate fax number. According to the IRS, once a determination has been made that your LLC needs an EIN, your new EIN will be faxed to you within four business days.
- Application by mail: You can also mail in a completed Form SS-4. Once a determination has been made that your LLC needs an EIN, your new EIN will be mailed to you.
A single-member LLC is only required to obtain an EIN if it has one or more employees or if it's subject to excise tax liabilities. However, you may still find it beneficial to have an EIN for your LLC. Whether you're required to get an EIN or you need one for a non-IRS-related reason, applying for an EIN for your LLC is an easy process.