Employer Identification Number

Applicable to the United States, an Employer Identification Number or EIN (also known as Federal Employer Identification Number or (FEIN)) is the corporate equivalent to a Social Security Number, although it is issued to anyone, including individuals, who has to pay withholding taxes on employees.

Other Names

Also known as the Tax Identification Number (TIN), Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or the Federal Tax Identification Number, the EIN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to business entities operating in the United States for the purposes of identification. When the number is used for identification rather than employment tax reporting, it is usually referred to as a TIN, and when used for the purposes of reporting employment taxes, it is usually referred to as an "EIN". This article will use the latter term.

Comparison to Social Security Numbers

Similar in purpose to the Social Security Number assigned to individuals, EINs are used by employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profit organizations, trusts and estates, government agencies, certain individuals and other business entities. The IRS uses this number to identify taxpayers that are required to file various business tax returns. Individuals who are employers may choose to either obtain an EIN or use their Social Security Number for the purpose of reporting taxes withheld on behalf of their employees. Contrary to some misconceptions, credit bureaus and credit issuers can tell the difference between SSN and EIN Numbers. SSN Numbers can be validated as to origin and state / year of issuance. The credit bureaus and issuers are highly trained in fraud detection, and increasingly sophisticated algorithms and protections are used. This is why the EIN is not considered sensitive information, and is freely distributed by many businesses by way of publications and the internet.

EIN Format

An EIN is usually written in the form 00-0000000 whereas a Social Security Number is usually written in the form 000-00-0000 in order to differentiate between the two. There are EIN Decoders on the web that can identify which state the company had registered the EIN Number in. All businesses must have an EIN in order to file yearly tax returns. Those business that do not are considered proprietorships and the Owner / Operator SSN is used on the tax form.

Prior to 2001, the first two digits of an EIN (the EIN Prefix) indicated the business was located in a particular geographic area. In 2001, EIN assignment was centralized at three of the IRS campuses, although all 10 campuses can assign an EIN, if necessary.

Andover10, 12
Atlanta60, 67
Austin50, 53
Brookhaven01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 11, 13, 14, 16, 21, 22, 23, 25, 34, 51, 52, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 65
Cincinnati30, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38, 61
Fresno15, 24
Kansas City40, 44
Memphis94, 95
Ogden80, 90
Philadelphia33, 39, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 62, 63, 64, 66, 68, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 91, 92, 93, 98, 99
Internet20, 26, 27
Note: Prefixes 26 and 27 were previously assigned by the Philadelphia campus.
Small Business Administration (SBS)31

Tax Exempt, Charity Non Profit Organizations and EINs

The issuance of an EIN to a non-profit organization is separate and distinct from the organization actually obtaining tax exempt status with the IRS. Each chapter of a national non-profit organization must have its own EIN, but the central organization may file for a group exemption. Before donating monies to a charity, it is always advisable to verify the proper registration and IRS 990 Tax Exempt status. The entire database is searchable and one can verify entity registration, status and assets and liabilities at private databases.

All IRS 990 registered charities must obtain proper registration via the Internal Revenue Service. While giving to charities is a noble undertaking, one should verify such charities first with a little homework. Another source to check entity status is the IRS itself * [http://www.irs.gov IRS] but users may find the navigation of the site and location of the non profit databases a bit "government like".

EIN Expiration

EINs do not expire. Once an EIN has been issued to an entity, it will not be reissued.

ee also

* CAGE Code issued by the Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS) to identify suppliers to the Department of Defense.
* D.U.N.S. number issued by Dun & Bradstreet and required for certain U.S. government contractors and federal grant recipients
* Confidential T.P.I.N. number issued by the Central Contractor Registry of the U.S. Government

External links

* [http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1635.pdf IRS Publication 1635: Understanding Your EIN]
* [http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=97860,00.html How to Apply for an EIN]
* [http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98011,00.html Getting a new EIN]

Verifying EINs

The USA PATRIOT Act and the Know your customer rules of financial insitutions require that they verify and authenticate an account holders Tax ID Number or Employer identification number (EIN) prior to opening a financial account. The accounts are linked to the EIN for Tax reporting purposes. Accountants, Tax preparers and anyone in business should also verify a vendors EIN Tax ID Number when opening a subcontractor account or issuing payments. The EIN should also be verified on IRS W-9 Forms. A useful and comprehensive searchable databases are maintained by several private firms linked below, the largest of which is [http://www.feinsearch.com FEINSearch.com] . Larger financial instutions may run periodic KYV or AML (Anti Money Laundering) audits during the year and run batch scans or batch verifications of officer SSN and entity EIN reported numbers. All of these measures are healthy and industry accepted AML and KYC procedures.

* [http://www.einfinder.com EINfinder.com] lists 7 million EINs. The first three searches are free. Additional searches are available on a subscription basis.
* [http://www.feinsearch.com FEINSearch.com] lists 12.5 million EINs. The first few searches are free. Additional searches are available on a subscription basis.
* [http://www.melissadata.com/Look-ups/np.asp Melissadata] provides free searches, by organization name or ZIP code, of a database of over 1.3 million nonprofits' EIN numbers.

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