New requirement for businesses seeking a tax ID number

Written on May 14, 2019

Beginning May 13, an important change will affect the way the IRS issues employer identification numbers, or EINs. Only individuals with tax identification numbers — either a Social Security number (SSN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) — may request an employer identification number. This new requirement, which was first announced by the IRS in March, will provide greater security to the EIN process by requiring an individual to be the responsible party and will also improve transparency.

An EIN is a nine-digit tax identification number assigned to sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, employee retirement plans and other entities for tax-filing and reporting purposes.

The change prohibits entities from using their own EINs to obtain additional EINs. The new requirement applies to both the paper Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, and online EIN applications.

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