How to Get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) for Your LLC

The application process to get an EIN for your LLC is easy, but the preparation is tricky, as the IRS requires specific information to approve your application. 

Fortunately, most of it is available since you register your LLC before applying.

In this post, I’ll explain the information you need, why the IRS might deny your application, and how to ensure that doesn’t happen.

So, when you finish reading, you’ll know how to get an EIN for your LLC and avoid annoying delays.

What is an EIN?

Government abbreviations can be confusing, so let’s begin with some clarification.

An EIN is a FEIN (federal employer identification number); they only differ when you use EIN to refer to your state tax identification number.

The IRS issues an EIN upon request to identify your business for tax purposes. You’ll also need an EIN to hire employees, file your LLC tax returns, apply for specific licenses and permits, get a business credit line, and sometimes open a business bank account.  

Who needs an EIN?

A single-member LLC without employees and no excise tax liability doesn’t need an EIN. Instead, like with a sole proprietorship, the owner uses their Social Security number for tax filing. 

But regardless of your LLC type, you must get an EIN if you: 

Benefits of an EIN

Not every LLC needs an EIN, but getting one can benefit your business in so many ways, such as:

How to get an EIN: Step-by-Step

Before applying for your EIN, you must form your LLC with your secretary of state and ensure your registered business name is available nationwide. 

If your preferred business name isn’t available, you can register your LLC using a formal name and do business using a DBA (doing business as).   

Next, you must ensure you’re eligible for an EIN and have the correct information.

For example, only businesses operating in the United States with a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (like a Social Security Number) can apply. Non-US citizens can get an EIN but must first apply for an SSN.

You’ll need the following information to get an EIN: 

Once you know you’re eligible to get an EIN and have the necessary information, you can begin the application process.

Now let’s look at how to get an EIN for your LLC. Your first step is choosing how you’ll apply:

Step 1: Choose how you'll apply for your EIN

Step 2: Select your entity type

Here’s where you’ll choose the type of LLC you have, for instance, (single or multi-member LLC), provide how many members there are, and identify the state where you registered your business. 

Step 3: Designate your responsible party

Next, the IRS will ask about the designated party applying for the EIN.

Usually, it’s one of the LLC’s founding members. But you can use an LLC manager responsible for handling your business’s assets and funds or designate a 3rd party. 

Whomever you choose must have a Tax Identification Number (like an EIN, ITIN, or SSN). And if they change their address, you must inform the IRS within 60 days. 

Step 4: Provide the correct information

When applying online, you can’t save your information or return to a previous page, and your session expires after 15 minutes of inactivity, so ensure you have the information you need. 

Here’s a quick recap:

Step 5: Choose how to receive your EIN confirmation

The IRS will ask how you want to receive your EIN during the online application process.

You can receive it online for immediate download and print options or opt for mail delivery. 

If you apply by mail or fax, that’s how you’ll receive your EIN confirmation letter.

IRS EIN Assistance: 

You can find the instructions for completing the Form SS-4 on the IRS website

And if you’d like to speak with someone, call the IRS “Business and Specialty Tax Line” at 1-800-829-4933 from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm local time, Monday through Friday.

Troubleshooting: Why the IRS might deny your application and how to fix it

Applying for an EIN is usually a straightforward process, but there are reasons why the IRS will reject your application.

Let’s look at what they are and how to fix them: 

Name distinguishability:

The IRS can deny your EIN application if your business name is too similar to an existing entity. You avoid this by researching the United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) database before registering your LLC with your state. 

Responsible party conflict:

The IRS will also deny your application if the person applying for your EIN has already been approved for another online application. In this case, either designate someone else or apply by mail or fax to fix this.

Reference 101 error:

A Reference 101 error occurs from name conflicts or missing information when applying online. To fix this problem, ensure your business name is available and you have all the necessary information at hand.

Existing EIN:

You can’t apply for a 2nd EIN for the same business, and once the IRS assigns an EIN to an LLC, it’s permanent.  

But you must apply for a new EIN if you change from a sole proprietorship to an LLC.


Should every LLC have an EIN?

It depends on if the LLC plans on hiring employees, needs a business bank account, is liable for excise tax, or wants to establish a business credit profile.

But because there are so many benefits to getting an EIN, most LLCs get one. 

Can I create my own EIN?

No, only the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can assign an EIN. 

How do I apply for an EIN by myself?

You can apply online, by mail, or by fax if you’re in the U.S. and by phone if you’re outside the U.S. 

You can only choose one method to avoid obtaining multiple EINs for the same LLC.

Is an EIN the same as a tax I.D.?

A TIN is a taxpayer identification number and the umbrella term for several other numbers the IRS issues for tax tracking purposes.

For instance:

Are there other terms for an EIN?

Yes, the most common are:

But only a FEIN is an EIN; the other 2 describe any IRS tax I.D. number.

How much does an EIN cost?

Getting an EIN is free. You only pay if you use an online EIN registration service. Oh, and if you apply by mail, you pay for the stamp!

Are there any downsides to getting an EIN?

No, and even if you don’t need one now, it’s better to have it ready for when you do. 

Do I need a new EIN if I forget my EIN?

No, if you forget your EIN contact the IRS through their business and specialty tax line at 800-829-4833, and they’ll recover it for you.

What is the quickest way to get an EIN?

The quickest way to get an EIN is through the online application process.

However, to qualify you:

When can I use my EIN?

If you apply for an EIN online, you can use it immediately to open a bank account, apply for a business license, or file a tax return by mail. 

However, to file an electronic return, make an electronic payment, or participate in a TIN matching program, you must wait two weeks until the IRS registers it in their permanent records.

Why might I need a new EIN?

You only need a new EIN when changing your business structure. A new EIN isn’t necessary when changing your business name or location, adding new LLC members, filing for bankruptcy, or electing to be taxed as an S corporation.


And now you know how to get an EIN for your LLC.

Easy, right?

Even so, take it slow and follow the steps to avoid clerical errors that could result in denial, especially when applying online.

And select the right entity type, have your information handy, and ensure whoever’s applying is eligible. 

This portion of our website is for informational purposes only. Tailor Brands is not a law firm, and none of the information on this website constitutes or is intended to convey legal advice. All statements, opinions, recommendations, and conclusions are solely the expression of the author and provided on an as-is basis. Accordingly, Tailor Brands is not responsible for the information and/or its accuracy or completeness.

Terry is a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience building businesses across multiple industries – construction, real estate, e-commerce, hotelier, and now digital media. When not working, Terry likes to kick back and relax with family, explore Taoism’s mysteries, or savor the taste of fine Italian red wine.