How to Get an EIN for Your Limited Liability Company
Corporate Compliance by Local Corporate Guides®
Federal Employment Identification Numbers (FEINs or EINs) are like social security numbers for businesses, and with very few exceptions, all businesses need one. You apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by filing Form SS-4. The application can be completed online or with a paper form. Below, you’ll find step-by-step instructions to obtain an EIN for your domestic LLC.
What is an EIN?
A federal employment identification number is a tax ID that the IRS assigns to a business. Your EIN helps the IRS identify your business on federal tax filings. Certain tax situations require EINs—for instance, if you have employees, you’ll need an EIN. Many states require EINs for state-level tax filings as well. You may need an EIN just to open a business bank account as well.
Starting an LLC but would rather not go through the steps below? You can opt to add on EIN service as part of our LLC formation package.
Steps to Filing an EIN Application for Your Domestic LLC
Enter Contact Information
Completing IRS Form SS-4 starts off easily enough. The first seven boxes on the form are simply contact information for your LLC. In Boxes 1 and 2, you’ll list the name of your business and your trade name if you have a DBA. Skip Box 3 (it doesn’t apply to LLCs). Boxes 4a-6 are all address information—mailing address, street address and location of principal office. Boxes 7a and 7b require the name and social security number of one member of the LLC.
Identify Entity Type
While your entity type is actually “LLC,” Box 9a is really more about tax classification. LLCs can be taxed as disregarded entities, partnerships, C corporations or S corporations.
Single-member LLCs: Choose “Other” and write “Disregarded entity-sole proprietorship” on the line.
Multi-member LLCs: Choose “Partnership” unless you’re also filing paperwork to be taxed as a corporation. If you’re filing to be taxed as a corporation, choose “Corporation” and write either “1120” (for C corps) or “1120S” (for S corps) on the line.
In Box 9b, list the state where your LLC is incorporated.
State the Reason for Applying
In Box 10, choose the reason you’re applying for an EIN. Most LLCs choose “started new business” or “hired employees.” If you choose “started a new business,” you’ll also need to write the kind of business on the line (for instance, “apartment rental” or “motorcycle repair”).
Provide Accounting and Tax Details
The latter half of the application (Boxes 11-18) is mostly concerned with details that help the IRS understand how your LLC should be taxed and what types of returns the IRS should expect from your business.
Box 11 asks when you started or acquired the LLC.
Box 12 asks which month will be the closing month of the accounting year. Most businesses operate on a calendar year, making “December” the closing month.
Box 13 asks about how many employees you expect to have in the next year.
Box 14 is for employers and determines how often you’ll submit employer returns (and which return you’ll submit). If you think your LLC employment tax liability will be less than $1,000 for the tax year, you may be eligible to file Form 944 as a return annually, instead of having to file Form 941 quarterly.
Box 15 asks for the date when the first wages were paid to employees. If you have no employees, write “N/A.”
Box 16 asks for the primary activity in which your LLC will engage (such as manufacturing or retail).
Box 17 asks for further specification of the types of products or services your LLC sells. Be as concise and specific as possible. For instance, if you wrote “restaurant” in Box 10 and chose “accommodation & food service” in Box 16, you could put “fast-casual Mexican restaurant” here.
Box 18 asks if the LLC has ever applied for or received an EIN before. Most LLCs will answer “no.” If you choose “yes,” write the previous EIN on the line.