Remembering passwords, account numbers and other key pieces of identification can be difficult. It doesn’t take much to forget a pin number, misplace a key document or forget a verbal code. Just like a forgotten password rarely used, an EIN, also called an Employer Identification Number, can easily be forgotten or misplaced.
Luckily, we’re here to help you better understand your EIN, deal with a lost EIN number and learn how to acquire a new one or simply just look up EIN numbers.
How Do I Look Up My EIN Number?
You can find your EIN number by checking old tax returns. The nine-digit number will be found on the top-right corner of the first page of your Form 1120. You can also look at old correspondence from the IRS, including any official tax notices. Again, that information should be clearly displayed on the page.
Other documents that you may have and that can help provide you with your EIN include:
Bank account statements
Copies of applications, including the paperwork for licenses and certificates
Business credit reports
Business loan applications
1099-Miscellaneous Income form provided by a client or sent to workers
Billing information and requests for payment
Your confirmation notice from the IRS when you originally applied to your EIN
If these options for finding your EIN do not work out, you can also call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at 1-800-829-4933. They will have this information on record. The EIN for your business was created when your business was first formed and is the identifier for your business for as long as it exists.
All four of these methods will require the submission of the completed application Form SS-4. The fastest way to get an EIN for your business is by completing and submitting the application online. Make sure all of the questions are answered and press the “submit” button. By working on your SS-4 form online, you should have your EIN in a matter of minutes. If you plan on submitting your application by fax, processing time can take as long as five business days. If you choose to apply by mail, it may take 4-6 weeks to receive your EIN.
Once you receive your EIN, save the number in a safe location because you will need it for your business moving forward. If you need more help applying through the IRS, the agency also has a dedicated page with more help on how to apply.
U.S. non-residents looking to start a business in the United States can also apply for an EIN either by calling the IRS at 267-941-1099 or by faxing or mailing in their application. Without an EIN and a bank account in the United States, non-U.S. resident small business owners may encounter problems getting paid.
A fifth way to get your EIN — especially if you are looking for a hassle-free and quick way of getting your number — is to consider using Incfile’s EIN service. Incfile offers a quick and convenient option that will provide you with your Employer Identification Number fast, saving you both time and paperwork. In most cases, you’ll have your EIN within one day.
When Should I Get a New EIN?
If you lost your EIN, should you get a new one? No. Follow the procedures listed above to retrieve your business's EIN number.
There are a few situations where you can get a new EIN, whether you've lost your original number or not. According to the IRS website, businesses get a new EIN when ownership or the structure of a business has changed. (Simply changing the name of a business will not require a new EIN.)
Although the EIN assigned to your business is meant to last for the lifetime of your business, there are situations where it can be changed or even canceled. These include:
You change the business ownership structure.
Your business gets bought by another company.
You lose your business or your company is dissolved.
Your business is filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 (Liquidation) or Chapter 11 (Reorganization).
You create a new corporation after a merger.
You receive a new corporate charter.
Your business partnership comes to an end.
Get an EIN with Incfile
If you need an EIN number, Incfile's EIN service is the most convenient method. We'll take care of all the paperwork. And once you have your number, our personalized dashboard makes it easy to never lose your EIN again. It'll always be available when you need it with just a few clicks.
Peter Mavrikis is an author and editor with over 25 years of experience in publishing. He has worked as the Editorial Director for Barron’s Educational Series, as well as Kaplan Test Prep, where he ran the test prep, foreign language, and study guide divisions. Peter has also written several books on history, exploration, science, and technology.