How to Change or Cancel an Employer ID Number (EIN)

The IRS has procedures for these processes.

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An employer ID number often referred to as an EIN, is required for your business if the business has employees or if it's taxed as a corporation, LLC, or partnership. You might need one for a handful of other less common reasons as well. But what if you make a mistake when you're applying for your EIN? Is it fixable? Yes, and you can amend or deactivate your EIN for a number of other reasons, too.

IRS Changes EIN Requirement to Increase Security

Effective May 13, 2019, the IRS requires individuals applying for an EIN to use a Social Security Number or ITIN for the responsible party on the form. 

How to Change Your Employer ID Number

If You Made a Mistake

If you made a mistake on your EIN application, such as if you listed a non-owner or officer in Item 3 or elsewhere, do not submit a new EIN application, Form SS-4. Instead, submit a letter to the IRS, preferably on your company letterhead.

Include the name and the taxpayer identification number of the current principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, or trustor. Be sure to include the entity's complete name, EIN, and your mailing address so the IRS can correctly identify your IRS account.

If you Made Changes to Your Business

If you change your business name after you receive your EIN, write to the IRS at the address where you file your tax return. An authorized person from your company must sign the letter. If you change the name of your partnership or corporation, you must include a copy of the Articles of Amendment that you filed with your state to authorize the name change.

Changing your business name may require you to notify the IRS, in addition to changing your EIN. See this IRS article on Business Name Change for more details.

If you change your address or you change the responsible party for your business you must use Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party – Business to notify the IRS of your new address. You must report this change within 60 days.

When You Need a New Employer ID

You may not be able to just make a change on your EIN in some circumstances. Whether your business needs a new EIN depends on your business type.

Sole proprietors need a new EIN if:

  • They are subject to a bankruptcy proceeding
  • They incorporate (change their status from a sole proprietorship to a corporation)
  • They add partners and become a partnership
  • They buy or inherit an existing business and operate it as a sole proprietorship.

Corporations must get a new EIN if:

  • They receive a new charter from their state
  • They are a subsidiary of a corporation using the parent company's EIN or they become a subsidiary
  • They change to a partnership or sole proprietorship
  • They form a new corporation after a statutory merger.

Partnerships must get a new EIN if:

  • They incorporate (form a corporation)
  • The partnership is taken over by a partner and becomes a sole proprietorship
  • The partners end the partnership and begin a new one.

Limited liability companies (LLCs) are not recognized by the IRS as tax entities. They must follow the EIN change regulations for the business type of their taxing status – sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation (including S corporations).

How to Cancel an Employer ID Number

When an employer ID number is given to a business, that EIN is not reused for any other business ever. It stays with and continues to belong to the business that applied for it and for which it was used for tax purposes. This means you can't really "cancel" an EIN. But if you decide that you don't need the number anymore, you can cancel your account with the IRS.

You can close your business account with the IRS by writing to "Internal Revenue Service, Cincinnati, Ohio 45999." State the reason why you want to close the account and include the complete legal name of your business, the EIN, and the business address. If you have a copy of the confirmation letter you received from the IRS when you set up your EIN, include it. 

You must pay any taxes for which you are liable before you close the account. This includes income taxes according to your business type, payroll taxes, and other employment taxes. 

To find the correct mailing address for the IRS, see the New Mailing Addresses on the first page of IRS Form 8822-B.

Article Sources

  1. IRS. "Do You Need an EIN?" Accessed May 15, 2020.

  2. IRS. "Publication 1635 Understanding Your EIN." Page 30. Accessed May 15, 2020.

  3. IRS. "Do You Need a New EIN?" Accessed May 15, 2020.

  4. IRS. "Canceling an EIN – Closing Your Account." Accessed May 15, 2020.