Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Part 2 in an eight-part series on Becoming an Employer.

 Part 1: Becoming an Employer
 Part 2: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
 Part 3: Get Insurance: Business and Workers’ Compensation
 Part 4: Choose How to Handle Your Payroll
 Part 5: Start Hiring Employees
 Part 6: Complete Required Paperwork for New Hire
 Part 7: Make Payroll Tax Deposits
 Part 8: File Quarterly and Annual Reports and Returns


Before you hire anyone, you must first apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service.

Also known as a Federal Identification Number, an EIN is simply a unique nine-digit number that will identify your business in correspondence with the government. There is no charge for applying for the EIN.

There are several ways to get an EIN for your business:

  • Online. Apply online through the IRS. After answering interview-style questions, you can get your EIN immediately. 
  • By Phone. You can call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933 and get your EIN immediately.
  • By FAX or Mail. File Form SS-4 with the IRS. If the IRS issues an EIN number to you, you’ll receive it within four business days. Find the correct mailing addresses and FAX number on the IRS website.

Once you have the EIN for your business, you can move forward with the next steps in the hiring process. Keep your EIN in a safe place — you will use this number over and over, and have it memorized before too long.

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