Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) are used by the IRS and other state and federal agencies to track tax filings, payments and various other aspects of a business. Getting an EIN for a single business is a relatively straightforward process, but what if you need to get multiple EINs? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive, step-by-step guide.
Step One: Learn What an EIN Is and If You Need One
Before applying for multiple EINs, it’s useful to understand exactly what EINs are and the requirements for getting them.
What Is an EIN?
An EIN is a unique Tax Identification Number (TIN) that the IRS and other official bodies use to identify your business or organization. An EIN is used when filing and paying taxes and corresponding with the IRS. It can also be used by other state and federal agencies as part of their administrative processes, and some banks may require you to have one to open a business bank account or get a business loan. Think of an EIN as a Social Security number for a business.
Requirements for Getting an EIN
Whether you need multiple EINs or just one, your organization must obtain an EIN if any of the following are true:
You own or run a partnership, S Corporation, C Corporation, nonprofit or multi-member LLC.
You have anyone on a payroll system.
You pay anyone a salary other than distributions to the owner.
You file Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tax returns.
You are involved with estates, real estate mortgage investment conduits and some other organizations.
If the following three criteria are true, you do not need an EIN:
You are a sole proprietor or a single-member LLC.
You do not employ others.
The owners are not paid through payroll.
If any of these do not apply to you, then you must have an EIN for your business.
There are several good reasons to obtain an EIN, even if you’re not legally required to do so:
Just using your Social Security number could make you more vulnerable to identity theft.
Banks, government agencies and some other organizations may require an EIN to access certain products and services.
Your state’s Department of Revenue may require an EIN.
You will need an EIN to complete a Form W-9 and some 1099 forms.
Step Two: Determine If You Need Multiple EINs
You Need Multiple EINs If:
You are starting multiple business entities, such as a multi-member LLC, an S Corp, C Corp, LLP, partnership or nonprofit. Each one will require a separate, unique EIN. You cannot use the same EIN for multiple businesses, even if they are owned by the same person. EINs are not limited, so you may apply for as many as you need.
You are dividing your business into separate entities. If, after dividing up a business, they operate independently and you form new legal entities for each, then each entity will need a different EIN.
You Do Not Need Multiple EINs If:
You have one business with multiple divisions. If all of the divisions work under one parent company, under the same management structure, they can all operate under the same EIN.
You have a DBA/Fictitious name. If you have multiple DBAs for one entity, you only need one EIN. For example, if you have one multi-member LLC called the Blue Widget Holding Company and it operates under three separate DBAs, it only requires one EIN.
Step Three: Apply for Multiple EINs
Now that you know how many EINs you might need, it’s time to apply for them.
The process for getting multiple EINs is the same as for a single EIN; you will just need to do it several times. Keep in mind that the IRS does limit you to requesting a maximum of one EIN per day.
Start by completing Form SS-4, "Application for Employer Identification Number." For each EIN, you will need to complete and file a separate Form SS-4 with the IRS. Here’s what you’ll need to include on each one:
The name and mailing address of your business.
Your current Taxpayer Identification Number.
The type of entity that you’re requesting an EIN for.
Your reason for applying for an EIN.
Details of when your business started and your accounting year.
The number of people you expect to employ in the next 12 months.
The date you expect to start paying wages.
The principal activity of your business.
Once you have filled out the SS-4 for each EIN you can:
Apply online through the EIN application system on the IRS website. You will receive your EIN immediately upon verification