As a business owner or business office manager, you have many numbers to keep track of. Your paper pile may always feel like it’s overflowing from employee information to business invoices.
Employer identification number (EIN) is an essential unique identifier in filing taxes. Also known as business tax ID, the nine digital number is integral in your day to day business operations that include business registration, applying for a business loan, opening a business bank account and so on.
Beyond your social security number, as a business, the most crucial set of numbers is your employer identification number or EIN. Also known as federal tax identification number or Federal employer identification number, all business entities operating within America are assigned this unique number through IRS for identification purposes.
So, what happens if you have a lost EIN or you simply forgot your EIN?
What Is MY EIN?
Think of the EIN as the social security number for businesses. The number assigned to a company by the IRS is an identifier number.
The EIN is also called the business tax ID number. It is a nine-digit number that a business puts on all of the interactions and forms they file with the IRS.
So, when a business reports income for an employee, for example, they send in a form to the IRS. Not only will it include the employee’s social security number, but it will also include the EIN of the business.
This is an important number for businesses, including corporations, limited liability companies, and partnership businesses. It is how the IRS identifies the business.
Ideally, an Employer Identification Number (EIN), or tax ID number, is a critical requirement in the running of business enterprises, among them corporations, limited liability companies, and partnership businesses.
On the contrary, sole proprietors and single-member limited liability companies are not required to apply for an EIN tax number.
Why Do You Need an EIN?
The Internal Revenue Service IRS issues EIN to businesses for identification. Companies and small businesses need an EIN when filing tax returns and other documents.
How Can You Apply for an EIN or Taxpayer ID?
Business entities can apply for an employer identification number via either email or smartphone. The process is carried out through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. A notification containing the EIN is normally sent via email upon approval.
The IRS used to have a specific form, Form SS-4, used to apply for an employee identification number.
You can either FAX or mail Form SS-4 directly to the IRS.
You can also call the IRS directly by phone. For example, you would call the Business and Specialty Tax Line and EIN Assignment at (800) 829-4933. This IRS office can talk you through the process of getting an EIN.
The IRS now has a new online option too. It no longer requires you to complete Form SS-4. Instead, this form asks you a series of questions and has embedded links to guide you through getting a business tax ID number.
If you have misplaced your EIN and are wondering how to go about it, you can retrieve it in various ways.
Why Does a Business Need an EIN Number?
An employee identification number is important for several reasons. Instead of using a business name that may be the same as another business in a different location, this nine-digit number is unique to just the specific business.
The EIN is used for:
- Business banking
- Estate banking
- Trust banking
- Hiring employees
- Reporting employee information to the IRS
- Employment tax returns
- Excise tax returns
- Alcohol, tobacco, and firearm returns
The EIN would be used as a business identifier in any filings for any of the above reasons.
Are Their Risks If the EIN Number Is Lost?
While more businesses lose or forget their EIN than you might suspect, it’s still a pretty big concern and risk.
It puts confidential and important financial information at risk if the number lands in the wrong hands.
This number means someone could access your IRS records. These records can hold important employee information, including employee social security numbers.
It could also mean someone could access banking information and, if used nefariously, could impact business credit.
Additionally, the fraudsters can easily have access to your email and ascertain your personal credit information, social security number, or other financial information. The exposure might be malicious to your private data and, to the extreme, lead to financial loss.
Protect your private data and that of your employees by protecting your EIN.
Lost EIN or Misplaced EIN, Look It Up
Let’s fix this problem together and take a look at the multiple solutions.
EIN Confirmation Letter
The best place to look for the missing number is on the EIN confirmation letter that the IRS sent to you when you were issued your number, to begin with.
Now, maybe that’s lost too. But if you safely filed it when you received the letter, it will contain the EIN along with other pertinent information about your business.
If you applied for EIN through the IRS website online, then the IRS would have issued it right away. You can probably still access the information online unless you opt to have it sent via mail.
If you applied for your number via fax, they would likely have sent return fax to you.
If you can locate your original letter, the IRS typically prints the number in the upper right-hand corner of the letter along with the body of the letter.
Look Where the EIN Number Is Recorded
When you think I forgot my EIN number, there are several other places where you might be able to look where the number will be listed.
The good news is that once the IRS issues you an EIN number, it’s likely it will remain the same for your business. The bad news is that you might need to do some digging in files for one of the other places the number might be listed.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the other places you should look for the EIN number to be recorded.
Federal Tax Returns
One of the easiest places to locate the business tax ID number is on an old federal tax return. Most people are pretty careful at keeping a file with the previous year’s tax return paperwork.
If you can locate your tax return, you want to look for Form 11020, the corporate income tax return form.
Once you have this form in front of you, you want to look in Box B. This is the exact place where your EIN number will be listed.
You can’t file your taxes without this number, so if you can locate an old tax return, you can get to the number.
Notices Sent by the IRS
The IRS also sends all communication by mail. They will not contact you by phone unless you’re already involved in an audit and have a regular phone appointment.
The IRS does send a communication by mail. This can be good news if you’re hoping for another option to find your EIN.
Again, the IRS will always include the EIN number on their communications. The number will be located in the upper right-hand corner of all of their communications.
Business Bank Account Statements to Recover Lost EIN
Another place you might look for the missing or lost EIN number is on a bank statement. Your bank is likely to include this number along with other identifier information on the statement they issue to you.
If you don’t keep paper statements or your bank only provides them digitally, you can look at an online statement to locate the number that way.
Business Loan Applications
Often businesses will seek small business loans. If you have a small business loan through the Small Business Administration, they also ask you to provide the EIN number.
The EIN number would be part of the application for the loan. You might also have completed Form 4506-T requesting a tax transcript from the IRS. This form will also include a copy of the EIN number.
You can also check any loan application papers you might have to see if the number is listed on that paperwork.
Business Credit Report
Another location to check is a credit report for your business. You may have a copy of this from any bank applications you’ve completed. If you have a business credit card, you can also usually access the credit report through your credit card.
Both Experian and Equifax will include the EIN on the print-out credit report.
Most credit agencies also allow you to get one free copy of your credit report a year. So if you haven’t checked your business credit lately, this would be an excellent time to study and get the number you need.
As a business, you’re required to provide payroll tax information to the IRS about your employees.
Not only will you need to include the employee’s social security number, but also your EIN number. Many businesses submit this information to the IRS quarterly and do it digitally.
You may be able to access your records if you have any employees for whom you have reported their payroll taxes in the past.
Call the IRS Directly
Those gave you a slew of paper options to locate what you need if you forgot your EIN.
If none of those options worked, you could always opt to call the IRS directly. Call the IRS’s Business and Specialty Tax Line and tell them I forgot my EIN number.
The IRS representative should be able to provide the EIN number to you right over the phone. You can contact them Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.
While this probably sounds like the easiest option, pick up the phone, and get what you need. It may not be the easiest option. Be prepared to have a long wait time to get to an agent.
Like other businesses across the US, the IRS is also experiencing staff shortages.
It would help if you also packed your patience once you get on the phone with them. The IRS won’t just hand over the number. Be prepared to get asked a series of questions so they can comfortably identify who you are and that you’re authorized to have access to the EIN.
Remember, having this number means you can get sensitive information from your company.
This is one of the fastest and reliable means you can try out if you are stuck on how to gain access to your lost EIN.
Typically, the IRS customer service agent will release the EIN under particular circumstances that include only authorized persons allowed to own an EIN.
Authorized persons allowed to receive the number via a call include a partner in a partnership business, executor of an estate, corporate officer, sole proprietor, or trustee of a trust.
The Use of the Edgar System in Retrieving the EIN
The use of the Edgar System is an alternative you can use to retrieve your EIN. The system is approved and regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), regulating the electronic gathering of data.
Edgar is a free database accessible online by anyone through the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The service is resourceful in getting EIN data. Various individuals sourcing for different data can retrieve any data using the platform through various keywords.
This depends on what one is sourcing for on the database. In other words, the free database can help retrieve all kinds of data available in the American market. Try out this alternative, and I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
Are you still worried about the safety of your EIN and wondering how to go about it? Remember, the dangers of losing your EIN are enormous. Exposing your data to unscrupulous individuals is one of the worst risks you should avoid at whatever cost.
To avoid eventualities associated with misplacing your Tax ID number, this article has spelled out many ways you can apply to regain access to your lost EIN. Additionally, should you lose the number and fail to regain access, ensure you alert all financial institutions and agencies you work with to secure the EIN.
What Should You Do If You Need Another Company’s EIN?
There may be an occasion when you need to locate the EIN of another business too. For example, perhaps they are a vendor of yours, and you need their EIN for paperwork purposes.
There are several ways you can access this number:
- Go to the SEC and use the Edgar system to search for it
- Purchase a credit report for the business and get it from there
- Use a Pay for Information for the EIN
- For a nonprofit, use the Melissa system
Remember, the easiest way may be to ask the business directly for their tax ID number.
Get Help for Your Tax Questions
You can always return to your tax preparer to get the EIN. They likely saved the information as part of their records.
If you don’t use a tax service, it’s a good time to start. They can not only help you with significant tax preparation, but they can also help you keep track of these pieces of important information.
Know What to Do If You Realize You Have a Lost EIN Number
Have you tried out all the options highlighted here and still not able to retrieve your Taxpayer ID?
Silver Tax Group is one of the United States’ best agencies that you should try out to resolve your tax-related problems. With years of experience in helping businesses and individuals fix their tax problems, we are always dedicated to offering exceptional tax services to our clients anytime they need us.
So you started reading this thinking I forgot my EIN or I had lost my EIN. Now you have multiple options for locating the number and doing the paperwork for the IRS you need to be done.
If you need help with your taxes or other business paperwork, we can help. Contact us for all your tax consulting needs we’ll be there -24/7.