The IRS assigns an employer identification number (EIN) and uses it to determine the tax accounts of employers and some certain exceptions who may not have employees. It is needed to open a business bank account, pay federal taxes, apply for business licenses and permits, and hire employees. It is also known as the Federal Tax ID number. When used for identification rather than employment tax reporting, it can be called the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). It is a unique nine-digit number that prevents your business from being confused with another. It is often compared to a social security number, but rather than being for individuals, it’s for your business.
An EIN is required if your Washington business has any of the following:
See here for additional information.
It is free to apply for an EIN through the IRS. You should file for an EIN before registering your business with the state. There are many methods to apply, including an online application, fax, mail, or telephone.
Online is preferred as it is the fastest method to receive your EIN. If the "responsible party" (see below for additional information) is an entity with an EIN previously obtained online, the applicant must use a different application method. The application is open on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time. After your application is reviewed, an EIN is provided immediately. The online application is open to all entities whose legal residence, office or agency, or business is located in the United States or U.S. territories. International applicants must apply through other methods, including fax, mail, or telephone. Click here to apply online now if eligible.
Taxpayers can also complete Form SS-4 and send it to the IRS fax number listed below for Washington businesses. A fax will be sent back with the EIN within four business days if the information on the form is validated.
Fax: (855) 641-6935
Taxpayers can also submit Form SS-4 via mail. The application is expected to take around four weeks for the IRS to review. If it is determined that you, the applicant, need a new EIN, one will be assigned and mailed to you. For those who are filing for an EIN in Washington, send your application to the address below.Internal Revenue Service
Applicants whose principal business, office or agency, or legal residence is located outside the United States can call267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time to obtain their EIN. The person calling must be authorized to receive the EIN and be prepared to answer questions concerning Form SS-4. This is also an option for Washington businesses who prefer this method of filing over the others listed previously for whatever reason.
In Washington especially, it is important to distinguish between two types of tax ID numbers. As mentioned previously, the Federal Tax ID number is your business’s EIN. Your EIN is used for federal purposes. The State Tax ID number is similar to your EIN but is used to pay taxes at the local or state level. Your Washington state tax ID number is required if you are hiring employees in the state. If you are also selling any taxable goods and services or are selling regulated goods such as alcohol or tobacco where you will need to pay excise taxes, you will need to also apply for the state tax ID number.
Like the EIN steps outlined above, you can obtain a Washington state tax ID number through phone, mail, fax, or online. As with the EIN, online applications are processed more quickly and are preferable. When applying online, you will answer basic questions about your company and partners. You can expect to receive your State Tax ID number in 4 to 6 weeks after applying online. Click here to apply for your Washington State Tax ID number.
The IRS limits EIN issuance to once-daily per responsible party. This limitation applies to all EIN application methods (online, fax, mail, or phone).
Regardless of the EIN application method, you must provide the owner, trustor, general partner, or true principal officer's name and taxpayer identification number (SSN, ITIN, or EIN). They will be referred to as the "responsible party" by the IRS. This individual will be responsible for controlling, managing, or directing the applicant entity and the disposition of its funds and assets. The responsible party is typically an individual, and the only exception is if they are a government entity.
Nominees are provided temporary authority to act on behalf of entities during the entity's formation. They are NOT considered the "responsible party" and are NOT allowed to obtain EINs. Therefore, they should not be listed in the application. All EIN applications (mail, fax, electronic) need to be completed with the name, taxpayer identification number, and signature of the responsible party. To correct business information where a nominee was used, complete Form 8822-B and send it to the following address for Washington businesses.Department of the Treasury
EINs don't expire, and once issued to an entity, another business can never recycle them. The only way to cancel an EIN is if it is determined that you never needed one after the IRS has already administered one. For instance, if your business never started running, a request can be sent to the IRS to close your business account.
To proceed with closing a business account, send a letter that includes the complete legal name of the business, the EIN, business address, and a reason for closing. Also, include the EIN assignment notice if that was issued when the EIN was assigned. Send the documents to the following address:Internal Revenue Service
OrInternal Revenue Service
If the business dissolves, the EIN will become inactive, closing your account with the IRS. There is no need to take additional steps to cancel your EIN.
If there are changes to your business, including location or business name, a new EIN is unnecessary. Simply file the IRS form 8822 B for business address changes or IRS form 8832 for business structure changes.
If you were assigned an EIN but lost it, you can find it in these ways:
If you have any additional questions, please contact 800-829-4933, the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line.