Most businesses need a federal employer identification number (FEIN), and other organizations, such as estates, nonprofits and trusts, may also need this number. Luckily, you can easily apply for an FEIN (federal EIN) number online and through other channels. To get tips on this process, keep reading for more information.
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Steps to getting an FEIN
- Prepare Business Owner Information
- Apply for an FEIN (Federal EIN) Number Online
- Apply for an FEIN (Federal EIN) Number by Phone, Mail or Fax
- Why Do I Need to Obtain an IRS FEIN Number?
- How Do I Get an FEIN Number?
- What Is the Difference Between an FEIN Number and an EIN?
The first step when you want to apply for an FEIN is to prepare business owner information. What information do you need for an FEIN application? Well, the specifics can vary based on the type of business entity you run. However, in most cases, you need the following details:
- The name of the entity applying for the EIN
- The trade name of the business
- The name of the executor, administrator, trustee or other party responsible for the entity
- Mailing and street addresses
- Whether or not the entity is an LLC
- Number of LLC members, if relevant
- The type of entity
- Group exemption numbers if relevant
- Where the corporation was incorporated
- Reason for applying
- Date entity started or was acquired
- Closing month of accounting year
- Number of employees in each of the following sectors: agricultural, household and other
- Estimate of employee tax liability
- Date you started paying wages
- Business’s principal activity
- Type of merchandise sold or work done
- Information on third-party designees if relevant
If you have that information on hand when you start to apply for an FEIN (federal EIN) number online, the process will be easier.
To apply online, your business or other entity must have been formed in the United States. Applying online is the fastest option, and in most cases, you get your number as soon as you complete the online application. Note that in some cases you may have to verify your business address with the government. To streamline that process, consider working with a service that helps businesses and other groups obtain FEINs. Then, they can ensure that you don’t face any hurdles and that you truly get the numbers you need to take your business to the next level.
If you don’t want to apply online, the other options are to apply for an FEIN (federal EIN) number by phone, mail or fax. Businesses and other entities that have been set up internationally must apply over the phone, and in most cases, you can only apply over the phone if you meet this criteria. To apply over the phone, you need to contact the U.S. government during certain hours. Then, you need to provide the information listed above. To save time and avoid obstacles, you can have a professional handle the application process for you.
To apply for an FEIN over fax, you fill out a paper application and fax it to the government. After receiving your application, the government can mail or fax you an FEIN. For fastest results, make sure to include your return fax number with your application. Then, you should receive your number within four business days. Again, you need to make sure the government has all your required business details so that the process doesn’t face unwanted delays.
Finally, you can apply for your FEIN through the mail. Again, you print, fill out and return a paper application. Then, you wait about four weeks to receive your number. Mail applications take the longest, and they are not ideal if you want your number quickly.
At this point, you may still be wondering, “why do I need to obtain an IRS FEIN number?” Many entities get this number when they are ready to hire a new employee, and in fact, you can’t hire employees without this number. However, there are also other reasons that entities may need an FEIN, for example, if you need an FEIN to open a bank account for your business, estate, trust or other entity. If you change the legal setup of your business, you usually need to get a new FEIN. For example, if you change your sole proprietorship into a corporation, you typically need to obtain a new FEIN.
Now you should understand the answer to how do I get an FEIN number, but to recap, you can apply for an FEIN through the mail, over fax and, sometimes, on the phone. But, for the fastest results, you should apply for your FEIN online. To speed up the process, make sure that you prepare your information before you start the process. Also keep in mind that the person who is responsible for the entity must sign the application. They can sign the application and designate that another third party can fill in the details, but they have to indicate that they approve the application.
It’s also important to note that individuals can only apply for a single EIN in a day. If you run two entities and they both need an FEIN, you need to apply on different days. For example, if you’re obtaining an FEIN for a deceased loved one’s estate but you also need an FEIN for your business, you should set aside two different days to complete the application process.
FEIN stands for federal employer identification number, and EIN stands for employer identification number. These abbreviations represent the exact same concept. The EIN is used on employee, banking and tax paperwork. It is a special number that identifies businesses, trusts, estates, nonprofits and other entities to the federal government.
In some cases, people like to emphasize that this is a federal number. So, they put the word “federal” in front of the acronym. Then, EIN becomes FEIN. But, again, they both stand for the same thing. States may also have identification numbers for businesses, but those numbers are usually just called tax identification numbers.