How to Find Your Business Tax ID Number: EIN Lookup Strategies

Business owners — whether you're sole proprietors, or operating a limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or corporation — must obtain a tax ID number for their business.

This number, also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN), is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax purposes.

Be it taxes, business registration, or employee-related filings, this unique nine-digit number serves as an identifier for businesses in various government processes.

And if you are wondering how to find your Business Tax ID Number; we've got you covered. Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Check Business Documents

Search for Existing Documents

  • Look through your business records and documents, such as tax returns, bank account records, or payroll records.
  • Check any IRS correspondence or notices you may have received, as the EIN is often included in those communications.

Check Business License

  • Your EIN may be found on your business license, depending on state or local requirements.
  • Unable to locate the number? Contact your local licensing department for assistance.

Check the EIN confirmation letter

If you applied for your EIN online, you should have received a confirmation letter via email. This letter will have your EIN listed on it.

For those who applied for an EIN via mail or fax, you will receive a physical copy of the confirmation letter containing your EIN.

Step 2: Contact the IRS

Contact the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line for assistance.

  • If you're unable to locate your EIN through your business documents, contact the IRS directly by calling their Business & Specialty Tax Line at 1-800-829-4933.

Provide Necessary Information

  • Be prepared to answer questions about your business, including your name, title, and company details.
  • The IRS representative may also ask for your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to verify your identity.

Step 3: Search Online

Use the IRS EIN Lookup Tool

  • The IRS offers an online EIN lookup tool through their Tax Exempt Organization Search (TEOS) system; designed for searching non-profit organizations' EINs.
  • Although it may not cover all types of businesses, it's worth giving a try if you are unable to locate your EIN through other methods.

Check State Business Registries

  • Many states maintain online databases or registries of businesses, which often include the EIN as part of the business information.
  • Visit your state's Secretary of State or Department of Revenue website and search for your business using its name or other identifying information.

Step 4: Request a Replacement EIN

Submit Form SS-4

  • If you have exhausted all other methods and still cannot locate your Business Tax ID Number, you may need to request a new EIN from the IRS.
  • To do this, complete and submit Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, either online, by fax, or by mail.
  • Keep in mind that requesting a replacement EIN may result in the issuance of a new number, and your old EIN may become inactive.

Gather Required Information

  • Before filling out Form SS-4, gather all necessary information about your business, including its legal name, type of business entity, principal address, and reason for applying for a new EIN.
  • You will also need to provide the name and Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or existing EIN of the responsible party or principal officer.

Step 5: Keep Your EIN Secure

Store Your EIN Safely

  • Once you have found or obtained your Business Tax ID Number, it's essential to store it securely to prevent unauthorized access or potential identity theft.
  • Keep both physical and digital copies of your EIN in a safe location, such as a locked file cabinet or secure cloud storage.

Limit Access to Your EIN

  • Only share your EIN with trusted individuals, such as your accountant, attorney, or employees who handle payroll and tax-related tasks.
  • Be cautious when providing your EIN to third-party service providers, and ensure they have appropriate security measures in place to protect your sensitive information.

Monitor Your EIN

  • Regularly monitor your EIN for any signs of unauthorized use or suspicious activity, such as unrecognized tax filings, business registrations, or credit applications.
  • If you suspect your EIN has been compromised, contact the IRS immediately to report the issue and take steps to secure your business information.

Why Does Proper EIN Management Matter?

EIN is an essential identifier for your business. Proper management of your EIN can make a world of difference for your organization.

Here's why:

Tax Compliance

  • Timely filing of taxes
  • Accurate reporting of income and expenses
  • Avoidance of penalties and fines

Financial Stability

  • Establish creditworthiness with banks and lenders
  • Streamline payroll processes
  • Maintain accurate financial records

Legal Protection

  • Ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations
  • Minimize the risk of identity theft and fraud
  • Facilitate clear ownership and legal structure of your business

Business Growth

  • Attract potential investors and partners
  • Secure funding and grants
  • Simplify mergers and acquisitions

Avoiding Legal Issues

  • Maintaining accurate records
  • Ensuring compliance with tax laws
  • Preventing identity theft and fraud

Streamlining Business Operations

  • Simplifying tax filing processes
  • Facilitating accurate payroll management
  • Enabling efficient communication with the IRS and other agencies

Enhancing Business Reputation

  • Demonstrating professionalism and accountability
  • Attracting potential investors and partners
  • Building trust among clients and customers

How to Effectively Manage Your EIN

Regular Monitoring and Updates

  • Keep track of your EIN and related documents
  • Update the IRS on any significant changes in business structure or operations
  • Consult a professional if any issues arise

Accurate Record-Keeping

  • Maintain organized records of all EIN-related information
  • Reconcile discrepancies between internal records and IRS records promptly
  • Use reliable accounting software to simplify record-keeping tasks

Collaboration with Professionals

  • Seek advice from tax professionals and attorneys as needed
  • Outsource certain EIN management tasks to qualified service providers
  • Stay informed on the latest tax laws and regulations to ensure compliance

Implementing Robust Security Measures

  • Safeguard your EIN and related documents from unauthorized access
  • Establish strong password policies and multi-factor authentication for digital files
  • Limit access to sensitive information to select employees and partners
  • Train employees on the importance of EIN security and best practices

Developing an EIN Management Plan

  • Create a written plan outlining the roles and responsibilities of staff members in EIN management
  • Establish a schedule for regular reviews and updates of EIN-related information
  • Develop contingency plans to address potential issues or emergencies

Engaging in Continuous Improvement

  • Monitor the effectiveness of your EIN management practices
  • Gather feedback from employees, partners, and clients to identify areas for improvement
  • Implement changes and adjustments to your EIN management plan as needed.
  • Stay up-to-date on industry best practices and incorporate new strategies to optimize EIN management.
  • Regularly evaluate the performance of external service providers to ensure they are meeting your EIN management needs.

How to find another company's EIN

Sometimes you may need to find another company's Employer Identification Number (EIN) for various reasons, such as verifying their tax-exempt status, conducting background checks, or handling legal matters. Below are some methods you can use to find another company's EIN:

Check the company's website

Many companies list their EIN on their official website, usually in the "About Us" or "Contact Us" section. Hover over these sections and look for their EIN or any reference to their tax identification number.

Search the SEC's EDGAR database

If the company is publicly traded, you can find its EIN by searching the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system. Enter the company's name and click on the most relevant search result. Look for their EIN in the financial statements, such as 10-K or 10-Q reports.

Contact the company directly

If you cannot locate the EIN online, you can try contacting the company directly. Reach out to their customer support, investor relations, or legal department, and politely ask for their EIN. They may be willing to provide their EIN if you explain your reason for needing it.

Use public records and databases

Some states maintain public databases of registered companies, which may include their EIN. Check your state's business registry website or visit your local library, which may have access to databases containing this information.

Search for tax-exempt organizations

  • If the company is a nonprofit organization, its EIN may be available through the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) TaxExempt Organization Search (TEOS).
  • Visit the IRS TEOS website and enter the company's name or other relevant information. The search results should display their EIN if it's publicly available.

Check the company's public filings

If the company is required to submit documents to a government agency, such as annual reports or other filings, their EIN may be included in these documents. Check the appropriate agency's website for public documents containing the company's EIN.

Use commercial online databases

There are many commercial databases available online that collect and store EIN data for various companies. Some of these databases may require a subscription or a one-time fee to access the information. Examples of such databases include LexisNexis, Dun & Bradstreet, and Hoover's.

Consult industry-specific directories and publications

Some industries have specialized directories and publications that list company information, including EINs. For example, healthcare providers might have their EINs listed in the National Provider Identifier (NPI) registry.

Research industry-specific resources that may contain EIN information for the company you are seeking.

Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

The BBB keeps records of accredited businesses and may have their EIN available upon request. Visit the Better Business Bureau's website and search for the company's profile.

If the EIN is not listed, consider contacting the BBB directly to inquire about the company's EIN.

Network with industry professionals

Networking with industry professionals can sometimes provide you with the information you're seeking, including a company's EIN. Attend industry conferences, seminars, or events where you can connect with people who may know or have access to the company's EIN. Build relationships and engage in conversations regarding the company, and you may find someone willing to share the EIN with you.

Request the EIN through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request

If all other methods fail or are not applicable, you can submit a FOIA request to obtain the company's EIN. FOIA allows individuals to access certain government-held records and information.

To make a FOIA request, visit the relevant government agency's website and follow the instructions for submitting a request.

Keep in mind that FOIA requests can take time to process, and there may be fees associated with obtaining the records.

However, some information may be exempt from disclosure under the FOIA, so there is no guarantee that you will receive the company's EIN through this method.

Finding another company's EIN may require some research and persistence, but using the methods listed above can help you locate this important piece of information. Remember to be respectful and professional when contacting companies or individuals for their EIN, and always explain the reason behind your request.

How to change or cancel an EIN

Now that you know how to find another company's EIN, you may wonder how to change or cancel an EIN for your own business.

Changing or cancelling an EIN may be necessary if your business structure changes, if there are mistakes in your initial application, or if the company ceases operations.

Here's how to change or cancel your EIN:

Correcting errors on your EIN application

If you made a mistake on your EIN application, such as providing incorrect information or choosing the wrong business structure, you can correct the error by:

  1. Writing a letter to the IRS explaining the mistake and providing the correct information.
  2. Attaching any supporting documentation if necessary, such as articles of incorporation or partnership agreements.
  3. Sending the letter and supporting documents to the IRS at the address where you filed your EIN application.

It may take several weeks for the IRS to process your request and update their records.

Change your EIN due to a change in business structure

If your business undergoes a significant structural change, such as converting from a sole proprietorship to a corporation, you may need to obtain a new EIN.

Follow these steps:

  1. Determine whether a new EIN is required by consulting the IRS guidelines.
  2. If a new EIN is necessary, apply for one using the IRS's online EIN application or by submitting a paper Form SS-4.
  3. Notify the appropriate state agencies of your new EIN, if required.
  4. Update your business records, accounts, and licenses with the new EIN.

Cancelling an EIN

If your business ceases operations or no longer requires an EIN, you can request to close the EIN account. However, the EIN itself cannot be completely canceled or deleted from the IRS records. To close your EIN account:

  1. Write a letter to the IRS requesting the closure of your EIN account.
  2. Include the reason for closing the account, such as the dissolution of the business or the cessation of operations.
  3. Provide any supporting documentation if necessary, such as a dissolution certificate or a final tax return.
  4. Send the letter and supporting documents to the IRS at the address where you filed your EIN application.

Please note that closing your EIN account does not absolve your business of any tax obligations or responsibilities. Ensure that all required tax forms, payments, and documentation have been submitted before requesting to close your EIN account.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I reuse an EIN for a new business?

No, EINs are unique to each business and cannot be reused for a new business entity. If you start a new business, you must apply for a new EIN through the IRS.

Can I look up my own EIN online?

Yes, if you have misplaced or forgotten your own EIN, you can look it up online through the IRS's Online EIN Retrieval service, provided you obtained your EIN using the online application. Alternatively, you can find your EIN previously filed tax documents, bank account statements, or official correspondence from the IRS.

How long does it take to get an EIN?

If you apply for an EIN online through the IRS website, you will typically receive your EIN immediately upon completion of the application. If you apply via mail or fax, it can take up to four to five weeks for the IRS to process your application and issue your EIN.

Do I need a new EIN if I change my business name?

No, you generally do not need a new EIN if you change your business name.

However, you should notify the IRS of the name change by filing the appropriate forms or sending a letter to the IRS at the address where you filed your EIN application. Be sure to include your EIN, old business name, and new business name in the letter or form. Additionally, update your business records, accounts, and licenses with the new name.

Do sole proprietors need an EIN?

While sole proprietors are not required to have an EIN, obtaining one can be beneficial for various reasons. For example, an EIN can be used instead of a Social Security Number (SSN) on various forms and documents, which can help protect your personal information. Additionally, some banks and financial institutions may require an EIN to open a business bank account or apply for certain loans.

What if I lose my EIN confirmation letter?

If you lose your EIN confirmation letter, you can request a copy from the IRS by calling their Business & Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933, between 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. local time (Monday-Friday).

The IRS representative can provide you with your EIN over the phone after verifying your identity.

Alternatively, you can find your EIN on previously filed tax documents, bank account statements, or official correspondence from the IRS.

Do I need an EIN for a non-profit organization?

Yes, non-profit organizations are required to have an EIN, even if they do not have employees. An EIN is necessary for filing annual information returns, applying for tax-exempt status, and opening bank accounts in the organization's name.

Do I need a new EIN if I relocate my business?

In most cases, you do not need a new EIN if you relocate your business within the same state. However, if you move your business to a different state, you may need to apply for a new EIN, depending on the state's regulations and requirements. It is essential to update your business address with the IRS and any appropriate state agencies after relocating.