If you do not know your Employer Identification Number, also referred to as your EIN, don’t fret. There are several ways to look up your EIN, regardless of whether you lost it or simply forgot it.
Let’s take a quick look at the different approaches to finding an EIN number.
1. Reach Out to the IRS for Assistance
You can find your EIN by contacting the IRS on a weekday between 7 AM and 7 PM to speak to a customer service representative.
This approach is ideal for those have recently changed their EIN, as the IRS has all the latest information, updated with regularity. So don’t resort to outdated documents in search of your EIN number, as those old documents may list an EIN number that is no longer applicable to the business.
The only caveat for this option is that the person who contacts the IRS for the EIN number must be authorized to request such information. The individual who requests the EIN number from the IRS should be a partner in the business, the sole proprietor of the business, a corporate officer or another authorized party.
If you get stuck on hold or can’t get through to the IRS, try calling in the middle of the week instead of Monday or Tuesday. Like most organizations, the IRS is inundated with calls at the start of the week.
2. Sort Through Your Business Files and Paperwork
Take a moment to think about all the potential documents that might list your EIN number, which is stamped on everything from loan applications to tax returns, and from licenses and permits to government forms.
You might have been sent a letter from the IRS confirming your EIN number after the initial application was received. As long as you have some time and are willing to do some digging, you may be able to find your EIN number on your own.
3. Contact Local and State Government Agencies
Plenty of business owners use their EIN to apply for a license at the local or state level. Some business owners use their EIN to open a business bank account. Thus, it’s logical to reach out to local and state government agencies and your business bank to obtain your EIN.
4. Visit the IRS Website
If you applied for your EIN number online, the IRS also provides access to the EIN number confirmation letter online. Do some digging at the IRS website or search your email to find the confirmation letter and print it. Be sure to make a couple copies for your files just in case you lose the original printout.
Some business owners even go as far as attaching the confirmation letter to an email and sending it to their own email account. That way it’s always saved in the cloud.
5. Pay to Find an EIN Number
If you are willing to pay to obtain your EIN number, consider paying for a business credit report. Such reports are provided by top credit agencies and include your EIN number and tax ID. Once you obtain the EIN number, commit it to memory and write it down at least a couple times so it can be filed away.
6. Independent Contractor? Check Your Payroll Paperwork
Payroll paperwork such as 1099 forms are likely to state your EIN, especially if you’re independent contractor.
Some independent contractors use their Social Security number as their business identification number. However, many opt for an EIN for various reasons.
Take a close look at all the payroll paperwork provided to you while working as an independent contractor and there’s a good chance you’ll find your EIN on one of those documents.
Still Can’t Find Your EIN Number? Don’t Give Up!
If you still can’t find your EIN, don’t lose hope. It might be listed in documents buried deep in your filing cabinet or other space you use for storing documents. Take the time to sort through all paperwork related to your business and your EIN might turn up sooner than you think.
If your business has applied for anything, find any copies of those applications and take a close look. A business bank account statement or even your business’s online account profile might have your EIN number.
Changing an EIN Number
Now that you have found your EIN, you might be wondering if you can change it. This tax ID number typically remains unchanged across the course of a business’s existence. However, there might be a couple instances when you require a new EIN number.
If the business entity changes or becomes a subsidiary of another business, or if the owner is a sole proprietor and subject to a bankruptcy proceeding, changing the EIN might be necessary.
Even an alteration to the company’s ownership structure or a charter provided by the Secretary of State might compel you to change the EIN number. When in doubt, reach out to the IRS to determine if you’re required to change your EIN.