Are you struggling to find your employer identification number (EIN)? There are 12 ways to perform an EIN lookup, and we’ll share them with you.
An EIN isn’t a subject often discussed in interviews, but I’ve applied for an EIN for several businesses. In addition, I once had an employer put the wrong EIN on my Form W-2. That was my introduction to the federal employer identification number, so I learned about EIN lookups years before starting my first business.
- EINs and Other Tax Identification Numbers
- Why Your Business Needs an EIN
- How to Lookup Your EIN
- Ways to Lookup the EIN for Another Business
- Frequently Asked Questions About an EIN (with Answers)
What Is an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?
An employer identification number is a free tax identification number issued to a business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to the IRS, you need an EIN ”If you’re required to report employment taxes or give tax statements to employees or annuitants.” If you want a walkthrough of how to apply for an EIN, we provide it in the blog How to Register a Business.
The EIN will be on all business tax documents. An EIN is a nine-digit number that follows the pattern 00-0000000, which makes an employer identification number easily distinguishable from a social security number (000-00-0000) and other tax identification numbers.
We’ll cover some other uses of the EIN after discussing other federal tax identification numbers.
What is an FEIN number?
An FEIN is a federal employer identification number and is typically used interchangeably with an EIN. It is the 9-digit identifier used for business communications with the IRS. You’ll also need a state EIN in states with personal income tax. That’s why you’ll see people use an FEIN. If you live in the following states, you don’t need a state EIN.
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
Is there a difference between an EIN and an FEIN?
Yes. An EIN could refer to a federal or state employer identification number, while an FEIN specifically refers to the number the Internal Revenue Service uses to identify a business entity.
What is a Federal Tax Identification number?
A federal tax identification number (TIN or FTIN) refers to the tax ID you use on all tax documents involving the IRS. There are five primary TINs according to the IRS:
- Social Security number “SSN“
- Employer Identification Number “EIN“
- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number “ITIN“
- Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions “ATIN“
- Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number “PTIN“
The EIN is the only one that uses the format 00-0000000. The PTIN uses the format P87654321, while the rest use 867-53-0911.
What is my tax ID number?
A Tax ID number is what the IRS uses to identify your personal or business account. Common times to apply for an EIN are:
- When a baby is born
- Upon entry to a new country (needed to work)
- When you start a business
Yes. An EIN will always be a TIN, but a TIN can also be an SSN, ITIN, ATIN, or PTIN. Each TIN is given to people based on different sets of circumstances. In addition, sharing your personal social security number will open you up to identity theft, but an EIN will not. Other TINs won’t work for a small business with employees. You specifically need an EIN nine-digit number issued for hiring.
When Do I Need an EIN Number?
You should get a business’s EIN when starting a small business. You can go without a business EIN if you are a sole proprietor or single-member LLC without employees. You need an EIN if you fall into the following categories:
- The business hires employees.
- You are running a partnership or corporation.
- The small business files employment taxes, excise taxes, or alcohol, tobacco, and firearms tax returns.
- Your business employs a nonresident alien and pays taxes on non-wage income paid.
- A Keogh plan is used for your retirement account.
- You want to build business credit.
- Any of the following structures apply to the small business:
- Non-profit organization
- Real estate mortgage investment
- Farmers cooperative
- Plan administration
When does a Sole Proprietorship need an EIN number?
A sole proprietor will need an EIN if:
No. There are some exceptions including:
- Hiring employees
- Building business credit
- Protecting against identity theft
- Your bank requires them
How to Find My EIN Number
These are in the exact order that I would conduct a FEIN search if I didn’t know exactly where to find mine.
Location 1: How to lookup my EIN number
When considering how to lookup your EIN number, the best place to check is the EIN confirmation letter sent from the IRS. This document is sent to you after the EIN application is completed. There is no IRS EIN lookup for the general population. It’s essential to keep the unique identifier somewhere safe after you apply for an EIN. Check out the picture below to see where to find your tax id number.
We’ll explore how to find your EIN in other places next.
Location 2. Business licenses and tax permits
Checking my business licenses and tax permits to see if my EIN tax ID is on there would be easy because you should know exactly where to find your documents. Hopefully, your business keeps them on the wall or somewhere equally convenient because most states require visible proof to the public that you are a licensed business.
Location 3. Tax returns and other IRS documents
If you own an existing business that has filed a tax return, you’ll be able to find it in:
- Box D of a 1040 or 1040-SR
- The top row of a Form 941 or Form 944
- W-2 Block B
- W-3 Block Box E
- 1099 Second box from top on the left
- 1096 Box 1 Source
- Form 940 Top box
- Form 945 Top right box
Location 4. Internal Revenue Service phone number
In addition to the tax forms, you can do an EIN lookup through the IRS business and specialty tax line at 800-829-4933 between 7 am and 7 pm local time. Make sure the person who calls is the business owner or authorized agent. Authorized agents include a:
- Corporate officer
- Sole proprietor
- Trustee of a trust
- Partner in a partnership
- Executor of an estate
Otherwise, the IRS will not provide that information.
Location 5. Bank
You can get your EIN from a bank because most banks require you to provide an EIN to open a business bank account. The business EIN will help you comply with government regulations and make it easier for lending institutions to establish your creditworthiness. Just talk to a banker in the location or call your bank.
Location 6. Loan applications
Lenders will have your business EIN number if you apply for a loan. You can ask them, but they will then have it in their CRM. I would personally avoid this if possible. Next, we’ll look at how to do an EIN lookup online.
You can find your EIN online through most of the ways mentioned above except for those requiring a phone. Plus, you can check websites and credit reporting agencies.
Location 7. Websites
Many eCommerce sites will ask you to input your EIN. You can check your business profile to see if you included it. Shopify and Printful have it where you can view them, but Shopify is difficult to find. See the screenshot below to find where to download the tax information on Printful.
Location 8. Credit reporting agencies
When you order a business credit report, it will provide all the information the company can gather about your business including:
- The responsible party
- Any bankruptcy proceeding over the past three years
- Entity type
- Business tax ID number
- Number of employees
- How it performs compared to the rest of the industry
- All the business trade lines
- Dun & Bradstreet (D&B): At over 200 years old, this is one of the oldest business credit bureaus in the world. It’s the main one that people suggest using for your EIN lookup. It runs about $15 to $40 per month for a subscription.
- Experian Business: You can order your credit report from Experian, too. They offer one time purchases for about $40 to $50, or you can choose monthly business credit reporting for under $200 per year.
Next, let’s look at how to do an employer identification number lookup for other companies.
How to Lookup EIN Number: Other Companies
The ways you can do a federal EIN lookup for other businesses will depend on:
I would perform a federal ID number lookup in the following order:
- Use a Google search (all companies).
- Check SEC Reports (corporations only).
- Check the IRS database (nonprofits only).
- Contact the company’s accountant or a business owner.
- Buy a business credit report.
We’ll look at the different ways to conduct an EIN search for other companies next.
Location 9. Google search
I first learned about an FEIN number lookup because TurboTax was rejecting my W-2. I had to do an FEIN lookup to find the correct number. During my research, I realized the company excluded the first number of the EIN because it was a zero. So I tried using a search that included “company name EIN.”
My EIN number lookup didn’t yield the results I had hoped for so I looked at the pattern of the EIN and guessed that there was an issue with the software and the number. I added a zero to the front of it and did a reverse EIN lookup. A reverse lookup means that you search EIN number(s) you have and see what business name it belongs to.
Given search engines have access to information that normal companies don’t, I was able to establish the new EIN was correct and file my taxes.
Location 10. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) EIN lookup
In the section about tax returns, I listed a lot of documents that use an EIN for tax purposes. If a company is a privately held corporation, they have to submit the following documents to the SEC:
- Quarterly reports (Form 10-Q)
- Annual reports (Form 10-K)
- Current reports (Form 8-K)
- Visit the SEC Statutes, Rules, and Forms page for a full list of filing documents.
You can do an IRS EIN Number lookup by searching the company’s name in EDGAR.
Location 11. IRS database for nonprofits
If you need an EIN number finder for a non-profit organization (NPO), you’re in luck! You can search for tax-exempt organizations on the IRS website. People use charitable donations as a tax write-off, but the NPO only has to provide documentation under certain scenarios. If you are trying to claim the donation on tax returns, the company needs to be a 501( c )( 3 ). Make sure you check before you donate money and again when you file taxes.
In addition to credit agencies, there are paid tax ID lookup services. They apply for the TIN matching program with the IRS. If approved, they can look up an EIN with the complete company or person’s name, TIN, or both. An EIN operation like EINsearch.com provides an API for financial institutions and accountants to verify EINs.
Did You Verify EIN Number Sources?
We covered a few ways to find an EIN Number. Let us know if you’ve found other ways to find an EIN number. We try to provide the most extensive lists possible. If you want to save this for later, download a copy of the free, printable how-to-find EIN number pdf below.
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