How to Get a Tax ID Number: Your Ultimate Guide

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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.

What Is a Tax ID Number?

A Tax Identification Number (TIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to businesses and individuals for tax filing and reporting purposes. It’s essential for various business activities, including filing tax returns, opening bank accounts, hiring employees, and more.

Types of TINs

There are several types of TINs, each serving different purposes:

  1. Employer Identification Number (EIN): Used by businesses with employees or those operating as partnerships or corporations.
  2. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN): Assigned to non-resident aliens who are required to file U.S. income tax returns.
  3. Social Security Number (SSN): Used by sole proprietors as their TIN.

Steps To Obtain A TIN

Determine If You Need an EIN

  • Check the IRS guidelines to understand if your business structure requires an EIN.

Apply Online

  • Visit the IRS Website to apply for an EIN online. This is the quickest method, typically taking about 20 minutes.

Apply By Mail Or Fax

  • Complete Form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number) and send it to the IRS by mail or fax. Details are available on the IRS website.

Use Third-party Service

  • Services like LegalZoom can assist in completing and submitting your EIN application.

Final Thoughts

Acquiring a TIN is a fundamental step in establishing your business’s tax identity. It may seem daunting, but by following these steps, you can acquire your TIN efficiently.


1. What is a Tax ID Number (TIN), and why do I need one?

  • A TIN is a unique identifier for tax purposes. It’s necessary for filing taxes, opening business accounts, hiring employees, and other financial activities.

2. How can I apply for a Tax ID Number (TIN)?

  • Apply online via the IRS website, fill out and mail or fax Form SS-4, or use a third-party service for assistance. Online applications are processed quickly, while mail or fax may take longer.

3. Can non-US residents without Social Security Numbers (SSNs) get TINs?

  • Yes, non-US residents without SSNs can obtain ITINs. This requires completing Form W-7 and providing necessary identity proofs. Processing takes about 6-10 weeks.

Remember, the process and requirements can vary slightly depending on your specific circumstances and the type of TIN you are applying for. Always refer to the latest IRS guidelines for the most accurate and up-to-date information.