Misplacing your EIN can cause anyone to panic.
Without the vital employer number, you can’t file your business’s taxes, open a business account, or apply for a business license. Because an EIN isn’t used as frequently as a social security number, most people don’t memorize the number, so it’s easy to forget.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution if you can’t remember your EIN.
In this post, we’ll explain how to verify EIN numbers.
What is an EIN?
EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. This number identifies your business exclusively because no two EINs are alike.
The IRS issues the number to business owners as a unique 9-digit identifier similar to a social security number used by individuals. Just so you know, only individuals who have a social security number, individual tax identification number (ITIN), or an existing EIN would have applied and received the EIN.
You should know that online companies charge a fee to get an EIN on your behalf, but you can get one for free from the IRS.
Business owners who hire employees, operate as corporations to conduct business activities, and withhold taxes on income paid to nonresident aliens are legally required to have an EIN. Some business owners acquire an EIN for the explicit purpose of separating their personal and business taxes.
An employer identification number helps you establish your business and stay compliant with regulatory, legal, and financial matters. Any time you change a business structure such as changing from a partnership to a corporation, you must obtain a new EIN.
EINs are also referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
EIN is a tax number for businesses with great benefits. But so is an ITIN: another fiscal number that can allow undocumented business owners to file their taxes, open bank accounts or even get business loans.
EIN Lookup: How to verify EIN number
Do you want to know what your EIN number is? Do you need this important number for a tax return or a loan application?
Don’t worry, here’s how to find it:
1. IRS original verification mail or email
When you originally got your Employee Identification Number, the IRS sent you a letter or an email with this important number.
Look up in your records to find this important letter. This is how your IRS letter should look like:
So, what do you do if you can’t find your original IRS EIN verification sent as a physical letter or an email?
You take these simple steps to verify your EIN number.
First, stay calm; there are two other options.
2. Find other documents that have your EIN
If you already set up your business using your EIN, it will appear on these documents.
- Your business banking statement
- Applications for a business bank account, business credit card, or a loan
- Sales tax permit
- Fictitious name statement
- Prior years’ tax returns
- Business license
- 1099-Misc forms issued to independent contractors
Make sure you always keep these documents safe, because, unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals steal EINs to submit fraudulent tax returns and receive refunds.
That’s why you should protect your EIN the same way you do a social security number, make sure documents containing the number are locked up, and discarded documents containing it are shredded. Likewise, you should use secure online sites when entering your EIN on applications.
3. Contact the IRS to get your EIN
If you can’t verify your EIN number using the documents mentioned above, follow these steps:
- Call the IRS Business & Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933 which operates from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
- An assistant will ask for identifying information before providing the number. Why? Well, only authorized persons can receive the number, namely, a sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, a corporate officer, a trustee of a trust, or an executor of an estate.
- Once essential information has been verified, the assistant will give you the number over the phone.
- Make sure to repeat the number to the assistant. Then, keep the number in a password-protected digital file so you’ll always have it.
Can I verify someone else’s EIN?
Yes, you can, but there are limitations in doing so.
But why would someone need to do so?
Well, another company may want to verify that another business’s EIN is valid before doing business with them.
You can verify EIN numbers by calling the company’s finance department.
If you can’t do that, research whether the company is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC’s Edgar System requires that a company’s EIN appears on all documents. The website provides guides and search tools to help locate specific companies.
Information for non-profit companies can be acquired by researching the database of GuideStar. It lists profiles of over 2.5 million IRS-recognized organizations. You can register for a free account by providing an email address and setting up a password. Search for the company by name and selecting Form 990. The company’s EIN should appear on the document’s first page.
Furthermore, you can search online for any local or federal registration forms the company filled or hire a verification service to find the EIN number. You could also contact one of the major credit bureaus, such as Experian, to obtain someone else’s business credit report, which would list the EIN on the documentation.
When misplaced, EINs seem like lifelines
An EIN number is crucial to efficiently manage your business. The number stays with your business structure from beginning to end. It’s your legal identifier when submitting tax returns or conducting other business affairs.
Fortunately, as you’ve already found out, it’s quite easy to verify EIN numbers in case you’ve misplaced yours.
Here’s something else that’s simple to receive and a valuable resource for your business.
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You’ll stay up to date with cutting-edge information on how to build your business, whether you’re just starting or operating your business as a long-time business owner.