Many businesses are required to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The EIN is a federal tax identification number for a business. Some sole proprietorships with no employees can use the owner's social security number as the federal tax number for the business. If, however, the business owner would prefer not to disclose his/her social security number in certain business transactions, an EIN number can be obtained from the IRS. For most other business types, an EIN is mandatory.
To obtain an EIN number immediately, apply online (available for most businesses) or call the IRS at (800) 829-4933. Before you call, it is highly recommended that you first review IRS Form SS-4 and Form SS-4 Instructions so you will be prepared to answer the questions that the IRS will ask about your business. You can also apply by fax or mail. But it may take 4 days (fax) to 4 weeks (mail) to obtain an EIN through these methods. IRS Publication 1635, Understanding Your EIN, provides additional information on this topic.
In addition to obtaining an EIN, it is important for business owners to understand federal tax obligations. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a number of useful online resources to help in this area. Click on the links below for additional information. If you hire employees, be sure to review the Managing Employees information as well. You may also want to consult with an accountant or tax professional regarding your business taxes.