person trying to verify ein number
Betsy Wise
By: betsy_wise
Read in 11 minutes

How To Verify EIN Number: Step-By-Step EIN Lookup

You can easily verify EIN number if you’ve misplaced it.

After all, this important number can help you file your business taxes, open a business bank account, or apply for a business license. But, rest assured, there’s a simple solution if you can’t remember it.

document that reads EIN: employer identification number

What Is An EIN Number?

EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. It identifies your business exclusively.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues the 9-digit number to businesses. It’s a unique identifier, like the SSN used by individuals.

The individuals who would have applied and received an EIN are those with:
  • a Social Security Number
  • an Individual Tax Identification Number
  • an existing Employer Identification Number

#DidYouKnow
EIN is also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or federal tax identification number.

document with EIN

The Importance Of Knowing Your EIN

Knowing your Employer Identification Number (EIN) is crucial for several business-management and legal situations:

You also need to know your EIN to:

  • apply for a business loan or credit card
  • file and pay taxes
  • issue 1099 forms
  • get a business bank account

If you do have this federal tax ID number but have misplaced it, it’s critical that you verify EIN number.

#CaminoTip
You should know that online companies charge a fee to get an Employer Identification Number on your behalf. Alternatively, you can get one for free from the Internal Revenue Service.

couple trying to verify a business EIN number

How To Verify EIN Number: EIN Number Lookup

Because an EIN is not as common as a social security number, most people don’t memorize the number, so it’s easy to forget.

Do you want to check your Employer Identification Number (EIN)? Do you need this important number for a tax return or an ITIN loan application?

Don’t worry; here’s how to lookup your EIN number:

1. Check EIN Number In The IRS Confirmation Letter

When you originally got this taxpayer identification number, the IRS website sent you a verification letter or an email. You can find this number in that document.

Look up your records to find this letter.

This is how your IRS letter should look like:

verify ein number

So, what do you do if you can’t find your original IRS EIN verification sent as a physical letter or an email?

Stay calm; there are two other options to find your tax id.

2. Find Other Documents That Have Your Employer Identification Number

Maybe you lost your EIN confirmation letter. If so, you’ll need other alternatives to verify EIN number.

If you have already set up your business using your EIN, it will appear on the following documents:

  • Your business entity banking statement
  • Applications for a business bank account, business credit card, or small business loans
  • Sales tax permit
  • Fictitious name statement
  • Prior years’ returns
  • Business license
  • 1099-Misc forms issued to independent contractors

Make sure you always keep these documents safe. Why? Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals steal EINs to submit fraudulent tax returns and receive refunds.

You can use an EIN to identify the tax status of a business entity. Also, for tax purposes, applying for business licenses, and several other related activities

That’s why you should protect your EIN the same way you do a social security number. Make sure you secure documents containing the number and destroy discarded records. Likewise, only use secure online sites when entering your EIN on applications.

3. Contact The IRS To Get Your EIN

If you can’t verify EIN number using the documents mentioned above, follow these steps:

  1. 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
  2. An assistant will ask for identifying information before providing the number. Why? Only authorized persons can receive the number. Those authorized are sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, a corporate officer, a trustee of a trust, or an executor of an estate.
  3. You have to confirm your essential information (and it needs to be correct). Then, the assistant will give you the number over the phone.
  4. 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.

What if you’re not an Authorized Representative?

Unfortunately, if you’re not an authorized representative, you won’t be able to get the EIN

magnifying glass with heart

How To Verify EIN Number For Charitable Organizations

If you want to lookup a charitable company’s EIN number, you’ll have to follow a different procedure to do it.

These non-profit businesses are also known as exempt organizations (because they have a tax-exempt status), and their information must be public record. That’s why it’s easier to do a tax ID number lookup.

There are 2 ways of finding an exempt organization’s EIN:

  1. Use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool. You can input different variables to find the non-profit you’re looking for (and their EIN).
  2. Alternatively, you can also use the GuideStar database. The website lists profiles of over 2.5 million internal revenue service-recognized organizations. Search the non-profit by name and the EIN appears on the document’s first page. 

woman callinf the IRS to verify ein number

#DidYouKnow
An EIN is a tax identification number for businesses with great benefits. But there also is a fiscal number that can allow undocumented business owners to file their taxes, open bank accounts or even get business loans. If that’s your case, get an ITIN.

Can I Verify Someone Else’s EIN?

Yes, you can, but there are limitations in doing so.

You can verify EIN number by calling the company’s finance department.

Suppose you can’t do that to verify EIN number. You can also research whether the company has registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In that case, the SEC’s Edgar system requires that a company’s EIN appears on all documents. Again, the website provides guides and search tools to help locate specific companies.

Furthermore, you can search online for any local or federal registration forms the company filled in.

Alternatively, you could hire a verification service to find the Employer Identification Number (EIN).

You could also contact one of the major credit bureaus to get someone else’s business credit report, which would list the EIN.

But Why Would You Need To Verify A Business EIN number If It’s Not Yours?

You may want to verify that another business’s EIN is valid before doing business with them.

illustration about EIN lookup

Does My Business Need An EIN?

The business owners that are legally required to have an EIN are the ones that:

  • hire employees
  • operate as corporations to conduct business activities
  • withhold taxes on income paid to nonresident aliens

Having a corporation, multi-member LLC, or partnership requires you to apply for an EIN number. 

If you have an EIN, you stay compliant with regulatory, legal, and financial matters.

Any time you change business structure, you must obtain a new Employer Identification Number. For example, changing from a partnership to a corporation.

Likewise, you will need an employer identification number if your business files for bankruptcy. 

#DidYouKnow
You can only use an EIN for one business. If you open a second business, you must apply for a different employer identification number.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use their SSN instead of an EIN. Although, there are 3 benefits of having an Employer Identification Number that you should consider:

  • An EIN projects to others that you’re a legitimate and professional business owner whether you apply for credit or conduct business with suppliers and vendors.
  • Another fundamental reason to have an EIN is privacy, regardless of which type of legal business structure you have. By keeping your SSN private, you reduce the chance of being a victim of identity theft.
  • Some business owners get an EIN to separate their personal and business taxes. This provides a better organization for business and personal finances.

If you have already applied for and received your Employer Identification Number, keep it safe. Rest assured, you can still verify EIN number if you ever lose the IRS card that includes the number.

two arrows forming a circle

When Should You Change Your EIN?

Ownership and business structure changes require a new EIN under these conditions. 

Sole Proprietorship

When the business is subject to bankruptcy, it incorporates, adds partners, operates as a partnership, or inherits or purchases an existing business.

Corporations

When setting up a new charter, becoming a subsidiary of a corporation and using the parent EIN, changing to a partnership or sole proprietorship, or creating a new corporation. 

Partnerships

When they incorporate, if there’s new partnership ownership by an individual operating as a sole proprietor, and when ending a partnership and beginning a new one.  

Estates

When owners use funds to create a trust or an individual after the owner’s death represents an estate operating as a business.   

Trust Owners

When a single person is a grantor for several trusts, the trust changes to an estate, a living trust changes to a testamentary trust, or a living trust ends. 

cancel icon

Can You Cancel An EIN?

Once the IRS issues an EIN, the only way to cancel it is to close your business. 

Send a letter to the IRS that includes the business’s legal name, the EIN, business address, and why you want to close the account. 

Attach a copy of the original EIN assignment notice to speed up the process.

smiling businessowner

Learn how to start a business with a tax number

When Misplaced, EINs Seem Like Lifelines

An EIN is crucial to managing your business efficiently. Every existing business needs a federal tax id.

The number stays with your business structure from beginning to end. It’s your legal identifier when submitting tax returns. You also need it to apply for a small business loan.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to verify EIN number in case you’ve misplaced yours.

Here’s something else that’s simple to receive and a valuable resource for your business.

The Camino financial newsletter can help you grow your business and succeed.

You’ll stay up to date with cutting-edge information on how to build your business.

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Let us help you strengthen your business with curated resources to empower you.

FAQs

Is a business tax ID number the same as an EIN?

Yes, the two names are one and the same the IRS uses to identify businesses by their unique federal tax ID number or EIN.

Is there a difference between an EIN and a TIN?

The IRS issues taxpayer identification numbers (TINs), and they can be SSNs, EINs, ITINs, ATINs, and PTINs. 

An employer identification number designates that the owner of the number operates a business.

Is there a difference between an EIN and a FEIN?

An employer identification number and a federal employer identification number are the same things for federal tax purposes. 

The only time they are different is when the EIN is abbreviated and used to refer to a state identification number.

How do I get a tax ID number for a small business?

As a business owner, you apply online, select their entity type, and fill out a questionnaire. You must complete the online IRS EIN application in one session.

Once the IRS validates your information, they immediately issue a number by sending an EIN confirmation notice that you can download, print, and save. 

You must have a valid SSN, ITIN, or existing EIN for another business to apply online. In addition, the principal business must be in the US or US Territories.

Do I need an EIN if I am self-employed?

Self-employed individuals use an SSN or ITIN to submit their tax returns as long as they don’t pay employees, owe excise taxes, or submit pension plan returns. 

But you can get an EIN if you want, though, to keep your personal and business finances separate and reduce the risk of identity theft.

Do I Need an EIN if I have a sole proprietorship with a DBA?

Designating your sole proprietorship as “doing business as” (DBA) does not change how rules apply to your business. Usually, sole proprietorships don’t require an EIN, although some situations would make an EIN mandatory.

Can you have a business without an EIN?

You can operate a business without an EIN as long as:

  • your business structure is a sole proprietorship or single-member LLC
  • you don’t pay employees, pay excise taxes, or file pension-plan tax returns

Those individuals pay taxes and submit a tax return using an SSN or ITIN.

When does a sole proprietorship need an EIN?

Sole proprietors can use their social security numbers to run a business. However, they must get an EIN if they hire employees, pay excise taxes on manufactured goods, or file a pension plan tax return.

 

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