Every business entity needs an employer identification number (EIN) to operate and keep personal finances separate from business ones. The EIN is issued by the IRS for free and can be obtained through the IRS’ website with Form SS-4: Application for Employer Identification Number. Benefits include being able to hire and pay employees, open bank accounts, and apply for credit.
What is Form SS-4?
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number issued by the IRS in the US to identify businesses. They are used for payroll, taxes, opening bank accounts and applying for credit. All businesses that meet certain criteria must have an EIN before they can begin operations and this can be applied for free through the IRS website. EINs enable businesses to keep their personal finances separate from business finances, and certain businesses are legally required to have an EIN regardless of size. They never expire, can be used to identify businesses instantly and must be provided for the purpose of filing taxes.
IRS Form SS-4 – Who Needs to Fill It Out?
All businesses that meet certain criteria must file the IRS Form SS-4: Application for Employer Identification Number to apply for an EIN. The form requires information such as the type of entity, reasons for applying, start or acquisition date, principal industry of business, company name, and the name of the company’s principal officer. The form must be filled out by sole proprietorships, limited liability companies, non-profit organizations, governments, S corporations, partnerships, estates, and trusts. Individuals who run the business, regardless of title, must be an individual and not an entity. Applying for an EIN, which is free, is necessary before opening bank accounts, obtaining credit, applying for state licenses and permits, filing taxes, paying employees, investing surplus cash, and maintaining corporate shields.
Step-by-Step: Form SS-4 Instructions For Filling Out the Document
Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is critical to begin operating a business of any size. To apply for an EIN, applicants must fill out the Form SS-4: Application for Employer Identification Number, providing a range of mandatory information including the type of entity, reasons for applying, start or acquisition date, the principal industry of business, and the name and personal taxpayer identification number of the company’s principal officer. Once the information is validated, an EIN is assigned immediately, and the applicant is able to utilize the number for a variety of business needs, including hiring and paying employees, operating corporate shields, filing business taxes, and registering state taxes. While the application is free, processing times are diversified depending on the method of application: online processing is immediate, faxed applications take up to two weeks, and paper applications have an expected turnaround time of four to five weeks.
Below, we present a table that will help you understand how to fill out Form SS-4.
|Information Required for Form SS-4||Details|
|Type of Entity||Legal structure of the business (e.g., sole proprietorship, corporation)|
|Reasons for Applying||Explanation of why you need an EIN (e.g., starting a new business, hiring employees)|
|Start or Acquisition Date||Date when the business started or was acquired|
|Principal Industry of Business||Main field or industry of the business|
|Name and Personal Taxpayer Identification Number of Principal Officer||Name and personal TIN of the company’s principal officer|
Do You Need to File Form SS-4 Each Year?
Every business entity needs an employer identification number (EIN) to legally operate, including those that have employees, operate as corporations or partnerships, file certain tax returns, or withhold income taxes on income other than wages. You can apply for an EIN directly through the IRS, which usually issues it immediately, and the process is free. Additionally, having an EIN allows businesses to open bank accounts and apply for credit, and allows self-employed individuals and subcontractors to be properly reported to the IRS. An EIN never expires, and once received it must be used in all tax filings until the business discontinues operations.
Download the official IRS Form SS-4 PDF
On the official IRS website, you will find a link to download Form SS-4: Application for Employer Identification Number. However, to make it easier for you, we are providing the link in our article, which comes directly from the official irs.gov website! Click to download: Form SS-4