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IRS.gov Website
Rev. date: 11/27/2017


Employer Identification Number (EIN) – How to Apply

Tax Topic 755
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An employer identification number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS. It's used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain others who have no employees. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers who 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 and Publication 1635, Understanding Your EIN.


Daily Limitation of an Employer Identification Number

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To ensure fair and equitable treatment for all taxpayers, the IRS limits EIN issuance to one per responsible party per day. This limitation is applicable to all requests for EINs whether online, by telephone, fax, or mail. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.


Applying for an EIN

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If you have legal residence, principal place of business, or principal office or agency in any state or the District of Columbia, you may apply for an EIN as follows:
Online - The Internet is the preferred method to use when applying for an EIN. The online EIN application is available Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time. Once the application is completed, the information is validated during the online session, and an EIN is issued immediately. Taxpayers who apply online can view, print, and save their EIN assignment notice at the end of the session (Authorized third party designees will receive the EIN; however, the EIN assignment notice will be mailed to the applicant.). The online application is available for all entities whose principal place of business, office or agency, or legal residence (in the case of an individual) is located in the U.S. or U.S. possessions. The online application isn't available for entities with foreign addresses. The principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor, etc. must have a valid taxpayer identification number (SSN, EIN, or ITIN) in order to use the online application. Search the term EIN on IRS.gov for more information.
By Fax - You can fax the completed Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, to the appropriate fax number (see "Where to File Your Taxes" (for Form SS-4)) for processing. You can receive your EIN by fax generally within 4 business days. You can apply by fax 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
By Mail - You can mail the completed Form SS-4 to the IRS service center address listed on the Instructions SS-4 or see "Where to File Your Taxes" (for Form SS-4). Ensure that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information. Mail Form SS-4 at least 4 to 5 weeks before you need your EIN to file a return or make a deposit. You will receive your EIN in the mail in approximately 4 weeks.


International EIN Applicants

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If you have no legal residence, principal place of business, or principal office or agency in any state or the District of Columbia, you're considered an international applicant, and you can only apply for an EIN as follows:
By Telephone - If you're an international applicant, you may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday through Friday to obtain an EIN. You must be authorized to receive the EIN and answer questions concerning the Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number. When applying by telephone, it's helpful to complete the Form SS-4 before contacting the IRS. An IRS representative will use the information from the Form SS-4 to establish your account and assign you an EIN.
By Fax - You can apply by fax 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can receive your EIN by fax generally within 4 business days. Complete and fax Form SS-4 to the appropriate fax number (see "Where to File Your Taxes" (for Form SS-4)) for processing.
By Mail - Ensure that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information. Send your completed Form SS-4 (see "Where to File Your Taxes" (for Form SS-4)) at least 4 to 5 weeks before you need your EIN to file a return or make a deposit. You will receive your EIN in the mail in approximately 4 weeks.