EIN FAQ - United States

EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. An EIN is a 9 digit unique number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to every organization with paid employees. An EIN can be thought of as a Social Security Number for an organization. An organization may have one or more EINs.
Do I need an EIN?

According to the IRS website, you are required to have an EIN if:

  • You have employees
  • You operate a business as a corporation or as a partnership
  • You withhold taxes on income, other than wages, paid to a non-resident alien
  • You file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
  • You are involved in any of the following types of organizations:
    • Trusts, except certain grantor-owned revocable trusts, IRAs, Exempt Organization Business Income
  • Tax Returns
    • Estates
    • Real estate mortgage investment conduits
    • Non-profit organizations
    • Farmers’ cooperatives
    • Plan administrators
Do I need a new EIN?

An organization requires a new EIN when it is being changed to a different type of organization. For example, if a sole proprietorship becomes a corporation, or a partnership is purchased by one member and turned into a sole proprietorship, the organizations would need new EIN numbers.

Do I need LawDepot to prepare my EIN Application?

No, you do not need LawDepot’s help in preparing your EIN Application. You can file an EIN Application electronically through the IRS website, or by filling out a Form SS-4 and mailing or faxing it to the IRS. However, having LawDepot prepare your SS-4 form for you can save time, hassle, and aggravation.

Business Activities
Which option should I select to describe the principal activity of my business?


Select this option if your business:

  • Is engaged in erecting buildings or engineering projects (streets, tunnels, etc.)
  • Is engaged in special trades such as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, excavation, etc.
Rental and Leasing

Select this option if your business:

  • Rents or leases tangible goods, such as automobiles, appliances, tools, etc.
  • Is a mortgage real estate investment trust
Transportation & Warehousing

Select this option if your business:

  • Provides transportation of cargo
  • Provides transportation of passengers
  • Provides scenic or sight-seeing transportation
  • Warehouses or stores goods
  • Provides support activities related to transportation
Real Estate

Select this option if your business:

  • Rents or sells real estate to others
  • Manages, sells, rents, or buys real estate for others
  • Provides related real estate services (such as appraisal services)
  • Is an equity real estate investment trust

Select this option if your business:

  • Uses mechanical, physical, or chemical means to transform materials, substances, or components into new products
  • Assembles the component parts of manufactured products
Finance & Insurance

Select this option if your business:

  • Is engaged in transactions involving the creation, liquidation, or change of ownership of financial assets and/or the facilitation of such financial transactions
  • Underwrites annuities/insurance policies
  • Facilitates such underwriting by selling insurance policies
  • Provides other insurance or employee-benefit related services
Health Care and Social Assistance

Select this option if your business:

  • Provides physical, medical, or psychiatric care
  • Provides social assistance activities such as:
    • Youth Centers
    • Adoption Agencies
    • Individual/Family Services
    • Temporary Shelters
    • Daycare
    • Etc.
Accommodation & Food Service

Select this option if your business:

  • Provides lodging
  • Provides meal, snack, or beverage preparation

Select this option if your business sells merchandise to the public through:

  • A fixed store
  • Direct sales
  • Mail order
  • Electronic sales
  • Vending machines
Wholesale – Agent/ Broker

Select this option if your business is engaged in arranging for the purchase and/or sale of goods owned by others or purchasing goods on a commission basis for goods traded in the wholesale market, usually between businesses.

Wholesale - Other

Select this option if your business is engaged in selling goods in the wholesale market generally to other businesses for resale on their own account, goods used in production, or capital or durable non-consumer goods.


Only select this option if your business is engaged In an activity or activities not mentioned in the list above. If you select this option, you will have to further specify the type of business your company is engaged in.

Tax Information
Will my employment tax liability be $1,000 or less in a full calendar year?

Generally, if you pay $4,000 or less in annual wages subject to social security and Medicare taxes and federal income tax withholding, you are likely to pay employment tax of $1,000 or less.

What do I put for the “first date that wages were paid”?

  • If the business has employees, enter the date on which the business first began to pay employees.
  • If the business does not currently have employees, but will have employees, enter the date on which the business will begin to pay employees.
  • If the business does not plan to have employees, enter “N/A”.

What is an Agricultural Employee?

Agricultural Employees include those who work on a farm, ranch, nursery or greenhouse raising livestock and/or producing crops.

What is a Household Employee?

Household Employees include those who do work in and around your home. Babysitters, private nurses, and housekeepers are examples of Household Employees.

What is an SSN?

SSN stands for Social Security Number. An SSN is a number required for employment purposes and issued by the United States Government.

What is a ITIN?

An ITIN is a taxpayer identification number that is assigned by the IRS to nonresident taxpayers or resident foreign nationals who do not qualify for an SSN.

What is a Certificate of Status?

A Certificate of Status is a certificate issued by the Division of Corporations to confirm that your company has paid the initial filing fees or Annual Report after the first year. The Certificate of Status also confirms that your company is active.

A Certificate of Status may be required by some government agencies and banks.

What is a Fictitious Name?

A Fictitious name, also known as a DBA (Doing Business As ) or Trade Name, is a name you can register with the Division of Corporations so that you may transact business using a name that is different than your legal name.

For example, if a company’s legal name is XYZ Clocks Inc., but the company wishes to conduct business under the name “Ultimate Clocks”, the company would file a fictitious name request with the Department of State Division of Corporations to conduct business under the fictitious name. The company’s legal name (XYZ Clocks Inc.) remains the same, but the company can now conduct business under its alternate name.

Next Steps
LawDepot has prepared and sent me my Application for Employer Identification Number (Form SS-4). Now what?

Once LawDepot has sent you your form SS-4, you simply have to verify that the information is accurate and sign and date the form. You can then send the form to the IRS by fax or mail (fax numbers and mailing addresses will be provided). You can also call the IRS and read them the information from your Form SS-4 to receive your EIN over the telephone.

How should Form SS-4 be signed?

If the application is being filed on behalf of a corporation, it must be signed by the principal officer of the corporation. If the application is being filed on behalf of an LLC, the application must be signed by the owner or a general partner.

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