An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a nine-digit number that doubles as your tax identification number. While your company can only have one EIN, there are rare occasions where you will need to change the EIN. Here is what you need to know about obtaining and changing EINs:
How Many EIN’s?: In most cases, you will only need one EIN number for your company. The EIN is a bit like a social security for your company. Once an EIN is assigned, it will remain with your company even if you choose to shut your company’s proverbial doors. Later, if you decide to re-open business, you’ll still find your company associated with that EIN in the eyes of the federal government.
When to Change: The one major case where an EIN can be changed is when the entity of your company is altered. There are four major business entities in the United States; sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations. If you are going from sole proprietorship to partnership, for instance, you will need to obtain a new EIN number. The newly assigned EIN will now serve as the Tax ID for your company, so you still will not have more than one valid tax identification number.
Obtaining Your EIN: The easiest way to get an EIN is to do so online through a reliable EIN filing service. Applying online is easy, convenient, and can yield results in a matter of days. If you prefer faxing or mailing your form, you should be prepared to wait several weeks for a response- and to repeat the process in case of an error.
Even if you change your company entity, you can only have one active EIN associated to that type of company at a given time. Once you obtain your EIN, you should keep that number secure and use it to file taxes every year. If you receive a new EIN because of an entity change, make sure that you do not confuse the new and old EIN numbers.