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Employer Identification Numbers (EIN): How & When to Apply for One

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you may have heard you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN is a Federal Tax Identification Number for businesses, similar to a Social Security number for individuals. Not all businesses are required to get an EIN, but if your business needs one, there are several different ways you can apply.

When Do You Need an EIN?

You’ll also want to double check with your state to see if you also need a state ID:

  • If you have employees
  • If the business is a partnership or corporation
  • If you file Employment, Tobacco, Excise, Alcohol, or Firearms tax returns
  • If you withhold taxes on income, other than wages, that are paid to a non-resident alien?
  • If your business is a non-profit organization
  • If you have a Keogh plan

How to Apply For an EIN

If you determine your business needs an EIN, you can apply for your ID number for free through the Internal Revenue Service. You can apply online, over the phone, by fax, or through the mail.

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