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Rev. date: 01/01/2011

Employer Identification Number (EIN) – How to Apply

Tax Topic 755
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS. It is used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain others who have no employees. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers that are required to file various business tax returns. EINs are used by employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profit associations, trusts, estates of decedents, government agencies, certain individuals, and other business entities. If you already have an EIN and the organization or ownership of your business changes, you may need to apply for a new number. For more information, refer to, Do You Need an EIN, or Publication 1635, Understanding Your EIN, or call 800-829-4933.
There are four ways to apply for an EIN:
  1. Online
  2. Telephone
  3. Fax, and
  4. Mail
Online. The internet is the preferred method to use when applying for an EIN. Visit The information submitted is validated during the online session. Once completed, an EIN is issued immediately. The online application 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. Additionally, the principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor etc. must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (Social Security Number, EIN, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) in order to use the online application. The online application is not available to Third Party Designees or for entities with foreign addresses (including Puerto Rico).
By Telephone. You may obtain an EIN immediately by telephone 5 days a week, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time), by calling the IRS at 800-829-4933. International applicants must call 267-941-1099. The person making the call must be authorized to receive the EIN and answer questions concerning the Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number.
By Fax. You may obtain an EIN by completing Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, and faxing it to the IRS for processing. The IRS Fax numbers are provided in the Instructions SS-4. An EIN applied for by fax will be issued within 4 business days.
By Mail. You may also obtain an EIN by completing the Form SS-4 and mailing it to the IRS service center address listed on the Form SS-4 Instructions. Ensure that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information. An EIN will be assigned and mailed to you within 4 to 5 weeks.