Why get a federal tax ID (EIN)?

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Essential for most businesses

If your business will have employees or file taxes, you probably need a federal tax ID from the IRS.

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Often required for business banking

Banks usually ask for a federal tax ID before opening a business bank account or line of credit.

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Helps shield against identity theft

Sole proprietors may use a federal tax ID to help keep their own Social Security numbers private.

What is a federal tax ID?

A federal tax ID (officially known as an Employer Identification Number or EIN) is a unique number assigned to a business or organization by the IRS. A business uses its federal tax ID much like a person uses a Social Security number.

Who needs a federal tax ID?

The IRS requires most business entities to use a federal tax ID (EIN)—corporations, partnerships, most LLCs, and some sole proprietorships. A federal tax ID offers other benefits, even when it isn't required by the IRS. For instance, it can help protect against identity theft, and it's often a prerequisite for opening a business bank account.

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Unique federal tax ID (EIN) obtained from the IRS

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Common questions

Does my LLC need an EIN?
If your business hires employees, has a bank account, or pays taxes, then you probably need a federal tax identification number.
Why would a sole proprietor need an EIN?
If you're a sole proprietor with employees, a Keogh plan, or you need to pay certain federal taxes (including excise and alcohol, tobacco, and firearms taxes) then you'll need an EIN. But even if you don't need an EIN, it might be a good idea to have one, as it can help protect you from identity theft.
Do I need to have my business structure set up before I apply for my EIN?
Yes. The type of entity and the date the business started are both required pieces of information when you apply for your federal tax ID. You need to have your EIN in place by the time you apply for a bank account, hire employees, or withhold taxes.

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