Best Way to Get Your Federal Tax ID Number in 2024

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Written By kevin

A financial strategist with a knack for demystifying taxes and insurance, Kevin distills complex concepts into actionable advice.

As a business owner, one of the first and most important steps you need to take is obtaining a Federal Tax ID Number, also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This unique nine-digit number is assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and serves as a way to identify your business for tax purposes. It’s essentially like a Social Security Number for your company.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about getting your Federal Tax ID Number in 2024. We’ll cover who needs an EIN, the benefits of having one, and provide a step-by-step process for applying online. By the end, you’ll be fully equipped to obtain your EIN quickly and easily, setting your business up for success.

What is a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax ID Number, is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to business entities operating in the United States. It’s used for identification purposes and allows businesses to file tax returns, open bank accounts, and perform other important functions.

Think of an EIN as a Social Security Number for your business. Just as your SSN identifies you as an individual taxpayer, your EIN identifies your business to the IRS and other entities. It’s a crucial piece of information that you’ll use regularly as a business owner.

Who Needs a Federal Tax ID Number?

Not all businesses are required to obtain an EIN, but most will benefit from having one. Here are some common scenarios where you’ll need to apply for a Federal Tax ID Number:

  • If your business is a partnership, corporation, or multi-member LLC: These types of business entities are required to have an EIN for tax filing purposes.
  • If you have employees: If you hire even one employee, you’ll need an EIN to remit payroll taxes and file employment tax returns.
  • If you file certain tax returns: Businesses that file employment, excise, alcohol/tobacco/firearms, or pension plan tax returns must have an EIN.
  • If you withhold taxes on income paid to a non-resident alien: If your business works with foreign contractors or vendors, you may need an EIN to properly withhold taxes.
  • If you have a Keogh plan or solo 401(k): These types of retirement plans for self-employed individuals require an EIN.

Even if your business doesn’t fall into one of these categories, there are still good reasons to consider obtaining an EIN:

  • It can help you separate your personal and business finances for liability purposes.
  • Many banks require an EIN to open a business bank account or apply for a business loan.
  • Some vendors may request your EIN before doing business with you.
  • Having an EIN can make your business appear more credible and established.

Benefits of Having a Federal Tax ID Number

Beyond the legal requirements, there are several key benefits to obtaining an EIN for your business:

  1. Separation of personal and business finances: By using your EIN instead of your personal SSN for business purposes, you can help protect your personal credit and keep your business finances separate. This is especially important for sole proprietors and single-member LLCs who might otherwise use their SSN for business.
  2. Easier hiring process: If you plan to hire employees now or in the future, having an EIN streamlines the process. You’ll need it to remit payroll taxes and provide W-2 forms to your employees at year-end.
  3. Business bank account and credit: Most banks require an EIN to open a business checking account or apply for a business credit card. Having these dedicated accounts helps you manage your business finances more effectively.
  4. Establishing business credit: Just like individuals have personal credit scores, businesses can build credit too. Having an EIN is the first step in establishing a business credit profile separate from your personal credit.
  5. Professionalism and credibility: Using an EIN instead of your personal SSN can make your business appear more legitimate to vendors, clients, and lenders. It shows that you’re serious about your business and have taken the necessary steps to establish it properly.

How to Apply for a Federal Tax ID Number in 2024

Now that you understand the importance of having an EIN, let’s walk through the steps to apply for one in 2024. The good news is that the process is fairly simple and can be completed entirely online in most cases.

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

Before you begin the application process, make sure your business is eligible to apply for an EIN online. The IRS has a few requirements:

  • Your business must be located in the United States or U.S. territories.
  • You must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, or existing EIN).
  • You must be the responsible party, meaning you have ownership or control of the entity.

If you meet these criteria, you can proceed with the online application. If not, you’ll need to apply using the paper Form SS-4 or contact the IRS directly for assistance.

Step 2: Gather Required Information

To complete the online EIN application, you’ll need to provide some key pieces of information about your business and yourself as the responsible party. Have the following details ready:

  • Legal business name and trade name (if different)
  • Business address and phone number
  • Responsible party name, SSN, ITIN, or existing EIN
  • Type of business entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC, etc.)
  • Reason for applying for an EIN
  • Date business started or acquired
  • Closing month of accounting year
  • Number of employees expected in next 12 months
  • Principal business activity
  • Products or services your business provides

Having this information handy will make the application process much smoother and quicker.

Step 3: Apply Online at

When you’re ready to apply, head over to the IRS EIN application page:

The online application is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time. The system is unavailable on weekends and federal holidays.

To begin, click the “Apply Online Now” button. You’ll be taken through a series of screens asking for the information you gathered in step 2. The application is pretty intuitive, but make sure to read each question carefully and provide accurate responses.

One important note: The online system has a 15-minute timeout feature for security purposes. If you stay on one page for more than 15 minutes, the system will log you out and you’ll have to start over. So it’s best to gather all the required information beforehand and complete the application in one sitting.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

After you’ve completed all the required fields, review your application carefully for accuracy. If everything looks good, click the “Submit” button to send your application to the IRS.

If your application is approved, you’ll receive your EIN immediately. You’ll have the option to download and print your EIN confirmation notice, which includes important details about your new EIN and your business tax responsibilities.

Step 5: Save Your EIN Securely

Once you have your EIN, it’s crucial to keep it in a safe place. You’ll need it for various business purposes, such as filing tax returns, opening bank accounts, and applying for business licenses and permits.

Consider creating a digital copy of your EIN confirmation notice and storing it securely in the cloud or on an encrypted hard drive. You should also keep a physical copy in a locked filing cabinet or safe.

Remember, your EIN is sensitive information that should be protected just like your personal SSN. Only share it with trusted parties who have a legitimate business need for it.

What to Do If You Don’t Qualify for Online Application

While the online application is the easiest and fastest way to get your EIN, not everyone will qualify. If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements or encounter issues with the online system, you have a few other options:

  1. Apply by Fax: You can fill out Form SS-4 and fax it to the appropriate IRS service center. You should receive your EIN within four business days.
  2. Apply by Mail: Complete Form SS-4 and mail it to the IRS service center for your state. This is the slowest method, as it can take up to four weeks to receive your EIN.
  3. Apply by Phone (for international applicants only): If your principal business is located outside the U.S., you can call the IRS at 267-941-1099 to apply for an EIN. This service is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time.

Regardless of which method you choose, make sure to provide accurate and complete information to avoid delays in processing your application.


Obtaining a Federal Tax ID Number is a crucial step for most businesses, whether you’re just starting out or have been operating for years. It’s required for various tax and financial purposes, and it helps establish your business as a legitimate entity.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can apply for your EIN online quickly and easily in 2024. Just remember to gather all the necessary information beforehand, apply during the designated hours, and keep your EIN secure once you receive it.

If you have any questions or issues during the application process, don’t hesitate to contact the IRS directly for assistance. They have resources available to guide you through the process and ensure you get your EIN promptly.

With your new Federal Tax ID Number in hand, you’ll be well on your way to managing your business finances effectively and compliantly. It’s a small but important step in setting your business up for long-term success.

Categories Tax