Q: In the future, I want to sell my products on Amazon. Do I need a tax ID number?
Thank you to a customer for that great question! If your business is based in the United States, you will need a tax identification number—usually an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN)—to become an Amazon seller. If your business is based outside the US, you will still need to submit the appropriate tax form, which you can find by completing Amazon’s tax interview. We’ll explain why you need a tax ID number to sell on Amazon and how to get one.
What is an EIN number?
An EIN is a number given to a business by the IRS to identify the business for tax purposes. It’s similar to a social security number, but for businesses instead of individuals.
Who needs an EIN?
According to the IRS, a business needs an EIN if it does any of the following:
- Hires employees
- Operates as a corporation or partnership
- Files tax returns for Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
- Withholds taxes on income, besides wages, paid to a non-US resident
- Has a tax-deferred pension plan called a Keogh plan
- Is involved in an organization such as a trust, estate, or nonprofit
However, even if your business doesn’t meet that criteria, there are reasons why you may still need an EIN. For one thing, an EIN is usually required to open a business bank account. Also, if you have an EIN, you can avoid giving your SSN to third parties.
How do I get an EIN?
To apply for an EIN, you must file Form SS-4, which you can do by mail, fax, online, or—for international applicants only—by phone. Applying online is the fastest, most convenient way for most applicants to get an EIN.
Read the Northwest guide: How to Get an EIN Number.
Can I get an EIN if I don’t have a social security number?
Yes. However, you won’t be able to apply online without an SSN, so you’ll need to apply by mail, fax, or—if you have no legal residence, principal place of business, or principal office in the US—by phone.
What’s the difference between an EIN and an ITIN?
While an EIN is a tax ID number issued to businesses, an ITIN (International Tax Identification Number) is a tax ID number issued to non-US citizens who are ineligible for an SSN but must file a US tax return.
To learn more about the ITIN, read ITIN, Explained.
Why do I need a tax ID number to sell on Amazon?
Amazon requires sellers to provide a tax identification number so that they can identify sellers and report sales to the IRS. Most businesses will need to provide an EIN, but some businesses—such as US-based sole proprietors with no employees—can use their SSN instead.
If you’re not sure what your specific tax responsibilities are as an Amazon seller, we recommend consulting a lawyer or CPA.
How do I send my tax ID number to Amazon?
You can submit your tax information to Amazon by going to your Amazon Seller Central account and completing their tax interview.