Getting Help with an Employer ID Application
How Do I Get Help with an Employer ID Number Application?
An Employer ID Number (EIN) is an identifier used by the IRS for businesses and other entities. It's equivalent to a social security number for an individual. Most businesses need an EIN, but it's fairly easy to apply for one.
One Place NOT To Use for Help with Your EIN Application
The EIN application form,IRS FormSS-4, is free from the IRS and you can do the application quickly either online or over the phone. You don't need to pay a large fee to an online service to help you complete this form. I recently had an experience with one of these companies, and I can tell you it's easy to be deceived.
Where to Go If You Need Help with Your EIN Application
But, there are some situations where you might want to get help from a tax advisor. If you are setting up a new corporation, you should get help from an attorney. The attorney will probably want to file the application for the EIN as part of the "package" of services for setting up this corporation. Since incorporation is a complicated process, you may want the attorney to do the EIN too.
How to Apply for an EIN Yourself
Here is the process I suggest using to apply for an EIN.
1. Go online and get a copy of IRS Form SS-4. The SS-4 form is available for download from the IRS website. Print out a copy of the form and complete it as best you can. If you need help, this is the time to ask someone. (Here are the instructions for Form SS-4 in case you want to check them.)
2. Then, when you have completed Form SS-4, you can go back online to apply for the EIN. Having the completed form in front of you will help you get through the online application quickly and easily. Note that the IRS has helpful hints and side articles along the way if you are still lost. After your application is completed, you will receive your EIN immediately.
The Tricky Part of the EIN Application Process
The tricky part of the EIN comes with the designation of the business entity. The sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporate status are clearly marked in Item 9A - Type of Entity. But the IRS does not consider an LLC (limited liability company) as a taxing entity, so they have included Items 8A-8C for entering information about your LLC.
But, the IRS doesn't tell you how to complete Item 9A for an LLC. The SS-4 instructions are complicated and difficult to understand. The instructions include several possibilities for LLCs, including Qualified Joint Venture and an LLC being taxed as a corporation or S corporation. This is where a good CPA or attorney can help you sort out your options and complete this form.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is to help you get started with your EIN application, not to give you tax or legal advice. Don't hesitate to go to a tax advisor. I am not an attorney or CPA and I'm not here to give you advice; each business situation is different and you should check with your advisors before making an important decision on an EIN application or other tax or legal form.
Answers to Your Questions about Employer IDs, including how to complete Form SS-4.