Do you need an EIN?

One of the most important things for you to consider when forming a business is your tax profile. Depending on how you plan to operate, you may first need authorization from the Internal Revenue Service to manage your companies tax affairs and liabilities appropriately. This starts by understanding whether or not you need an Employment Identification Number (also called a business tax ID). You have likely seen one before; it should have been printed or written on all of the W-2 forms you have received from past employers. Yet without a working knowledge of the U.S. Tax Code, how are you to know if you need one? 

The IRS has a checklist on its website which provides you with a few basic questions to help you understand whether or not your business needs an EIN. These include: 

  • Do you employ any workers? 
  • Is your business a corporation or a partnership? 
  • Are you required to file either an Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tax return?
  • Do you employ a non-resident alien from whom you withhold taxes on income? 
  • Do you have a Keogh plan? 
  • Are you involved in the management of a trust, estate, non-profit, farmers' cooperative, third party administrator, or real estate mortgage investment conduit?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then you need an EIN. 

Obtaining your EIN is actually quite simple. The IRS has an application portal on its website. You will need to list your business formation status, why you are applying for an EIN, and then provide details such as your name and Social Security number. Your EIN is then generated on the spot. It will remain the same throughout your company's lifecycle

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