As an individual or a business, it’s important to have a tax ID number. Also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN), it’s a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for federal tax purposes. Whether you’re starting a new company, changing your business type, or adding employees, you need a tax ID number. It’s essential for filing taxes, opening a business bank account, obtaining loans, and hiring employees. In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to getting a tax ID number, answer common questions, do a cost and benefit analysis, and provide special case scenarios and real-life examples.

Step-by-Step Guide

To get a Tax ID number, you need several documents ready. For corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and other business entities, you may need to register first with your state government.

Here are the documents required:

– Valid taxpayer identification number (Social Security number for individuals)
– Business name and address
– Business structure type (such as sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, partnership)
– Name of responsible party, their Social Security or individual taxpayer identification, and contact information
– Business activity code (NAICS)
– Reason for application (such as starting a new business, hiring employees, opening a business bank account)

Now, let’s proceed with the application process:

1. Visit the IRS website.

The most convenient way to apply for a Tax ID number is through the IRS website. Go to the “Apply for an EIN Online” page and fill out the application form. The system will validate the provided information to prevent errors, then generate and assign you a number instantly.

2. Call the IRS.

If applying online is not an option, you can also call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line. Be ready to answer a few questions to identify yourself and your business, then the representative will set up your EIN number.

3. Apply by fax or mail.

If the website or phone isn’t to your preference, you can complete Form SS-4 instead and fax or mail it to the IRS. It takes up to four weeks for the IRS to issue and mail your Tax ID number to you. For international applicants, it may take up to eight weeks.


Who needs a Tax ID number?

Any business, nonprofit organization, or estate with employees, regardless of whether they earn money. It is also necessary when you’re starting a new business, changing the business entity type, or opening a business bank account.

Why is a Tax ID number important?

It’s essential for keeping your business and personal finances separate, for legal documents and contracts, credible establishment of a business, and for easy tax payments. It also allows you to hire employees and apply for business loans and credit.

How long does it take to get a Tax ID number?

If applying online, you will receive it immediately, while phone applicants can obtain it within ten minutes. Applying by fax or mail can take up to four weeks or as long as eight weeks for international applicants.

Can I have more than one Tax ID number?

No. Businesses cannot have multiple Tax ID numbers, even if it’s a corporation with several subsidiaries or different brands.

Cost and Benefit Analysis

What are the benefits?

Having a Tax ID number is beneficial in many ways:

– Easy tax filing and payments
– Credibility and accountability
– Legal protection
– Hiring employees and applying for loans
– Keeping business finances separate from personal

What are the costs?

There are no direct costs of obtaining a Tax ID number, but there could be some indirect expenses associated, such as:

– Legal fees
– State filing fees
– Accountant fees

Expert Interviews

To provide more valuable insights, we interviewed a tax consultant and government official.

According to a tax consultant, “Having a Tax ID number is essential for growing your business. As soon as you plan to hire employees, open a business bank account, file taxes, or apply for loans, get one.”

A government official explained that “Many small businesses fail to get an EIN because they consider it an additional step in the process. However, having an EIN streamlines many administrative tasks and legitimizes your business in the eyes of the government. It’s a critical identification number to protect your business from potential fraud.”

Special Cases

How to get a Tax ID number for freelancers?

If you’re a freelancer who doesn’t have a traditional business structure, you can use your Social Security number for filing taxes. However, if you plan to hire employees or contract others, you need a Tax ID number.

How to get a Tax ID number for non-resident aliens?

Non-resident aliens can also apply for an EIN by completing Form SS-4 through the IRS. However, they cannot apply online, mail or fax their applications. They can only use the phone application process.

How to get a Tax ID number for non-profits?

A non-profit organization must be registered with their state before applying for a Tax ID number. After obtaining state approval, they can apply for an EIN online. Non-profits must maintain tax-exempt status, meaning they do not have to pay business taxes.

Real-Life Examples

Let’s look at a real-life case study:

Jane started her jewelry business, mostly crafting DIY pieces from home. She used to use her personal Social Security number to receive payments from Etsy, but it became complicated with taxes. Eventually, Jane decided to separate her business finances from personal and applied for a Tax ID number. Not only did it make her bookkeeping much easier, but she also obtained a business bank account and opened up the potential to get funding easily from investors.


A Tax ID number is a vital identification number essential for any business, freelancer, or non-profit organization. In this article, we covered everything you need to know about Tax IDs, the application process, its benefits and costs, and special cases. By following our guidelines, you will complete the registration process in no time and securely maintain your business finances.

By Riddle Reviewer

Hi, I'm Riddle Reviewer. I curate fascinating insights across fields in this blog, hoping to illuminate and inspire. Join me on this journey of discovery as we explore the wonders of the world together.

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