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Businesses seeking tax ID number face new requirement

Written on May 13, 2019

The way the IRS issues employer identification numbers (EINs) changed May 13. Only individuals with tax identification numbers – either a Social Security number or an individual taxpayer identification number – may request an EIN. The IRS said this new requirement, announced 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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