How To Get an EIN for an LLC
Now that you have created your limited liability company or LLC for your business, what is the next step?
You may have heard about filing for an Employment Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC. And you may have many questions regarding an EIN for an LLC. For example, when does an LLC need an EIN?
First, you should understand what an EIN is and what it does.
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What is an Employment Identification Number (EIN)?
The Internal Revenue Service assigns an Employment Identification Number (EIN), also called a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), to identify business entities. Think of the EIN as a Social Security number for your business.
LLCs apply for an EIN to use in their business transactions and tax filings. For example, a business owner uses the EIN to:
- Open business bank accounts
- Apply for business licenses
- Pay federal and state taxes
- Hire employees and withhold taxes
- Apply for business credit cards or business loans
In certain circumstances, you do not need an EIN for your LLC. For example, if you do not have employees or pay excise taxes, or file pension plans.
So the first step is deciding if you need an EIN for your LLC. The second step is to apply for the EIN.
Applying for an EIN
The first step is to complete IRS Form SS-4. The IRS provides instructions on how to complete this form. You can submit your application online, by mail, over the phone (only for international applicants), or by fax.
The fastest and easiest method to get an EIN for your LLC is to fill out the online application. Once you apply, the IRS assigns your LLC the EIN.
Be sure to print and save the confirmation page for your records. This page will be your only confirmation from the IRS.
You can download a fillable PDF application form from the IRS. Print the form, then sign and date. Finally, mail the form to the address listed in Where to File or Fax in the IRS Instructions. Expect to receive the EIN in 4-5 weeks.
An international applicant with no office or principal place of business in the United States can apply by telephone. Call 267-941-1099 from 6:00 am-11 pm Eastern Standard Time.
Another option is by fax. Download the IRS form from the website and fax it to the Internal Revenue Service. Find the number in Where to File or Fax in the IRS Instructions.
Expect to receive your EIN by fax in 4 business days. Be sure to include your fax number for the IRS to fax back to you.
Completing the EIN Application
The application process is pretty straightforward if you are a single-member LLC. However, when an LLC is a corporation or a partnership, it is a little tricky. Follow the steps below to complete the application.
1. Enter the business name of the LLC. This is the name on your LLC's Articles of Organization.
2. Include the trade name of the LLC, if any. A trade name is a fictitious name otherwise known as "doing business as" or DBA.
3. Name the person in charge of the LLC. So, the owner or a managing member.
4. Enter the mailing address of the LLC.
5. Include the LLC's business street address if it is different from the LLC's mailing address. Do not enter a P.O. box number. Use a physical street address.
6. Enter the county of the principal place of business.
7. Include the name and Social Security Number of the responsible party, meaning the owner.
8. Indicate if the EIN is for an LLC and, if so, the number of LLC members.
9. Check the box for the type of business entity. For example, an LLC has different classifications for tax purposes: a disregarded entity for a sole proprietor, a corporation, or a partnership.
- If you are a single-member LLC (SMLLC) and want taxation as a sole proprietorship for federal tax purposes, check the "other (specify)" box. Then enter "Disregarded entity - sole proprietorship."
- Suppose you want the LLC to receive tax treatment as a corporation. In that case, you file Form 8832 to classify as a corporation or Form 2553 to elect S corporation status. Then check the corporation box and enter "Single-Member." Also include the tax return you will file, either Form 1120 or 1120-S. Also, indicate where you incorporated your LLC.
- If the LLC is multiple-member LLC, it can elect for tax treatment as a partnership or corporation. Check the box for partnership or corporation.
10. Enter the reason for applying, such as starting a new business or hiring employees.
11. Enter the starting date of the business. If, however, you acquired the company, list the acquisition date.
12. Include the closing month of the accounting year. For example, if your accounting period is the calendar year, enter December. However, if your account starts mid-year or another month, enter it here.
13. Estimate the highest number of employees expected in the next 12 months. If you don't know, enter zero in all the boxes.
14. Indicate your expected employment tax liability. Check the box if you expect it will be $1,000 or less in a calendar year.
15. Enter the first date when you paid any wages or annuities.
16. Check the box that best describes your principal business activity. If it is not listed, check the "other" box and describe the primary purpose of your business.
17. Describe the main products produced or services provided. For example, if you are a real estate agent, indicate if you are primarily selling residential or commercial properties.
18. Indicate if this LLC has applied and received an EIN before.
Finally, enter your name, title, telephone, and fax number. Then sign and date the application.
The SS-4 application is generally easy to complete and file with the IRS. However, you want accuracy, especially when indicating the business entity for federal tax purposes. That's why it might be wise to form your LLC through a trusted DIY service or consult a tax professional or small business attorney.
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