What is an EIN and Why Do New LLCs Need It

Starting a business involves numerous administrative tasks, and obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is one of them. An EIN is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses for tax purposes. Whether you're a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or any other business entity, having an EIN is crucial. In this article, we will explore what an EIN is and why your business needs one.

What is an EIN Number?

An EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is like a social security number for your business.

It serves as an identifier that allows the IRS to track your company's financial activity. This number is permanent and does not change even if your business undergoes changes in its structure or ownership.

Typically all businesses will need an Employer ID Number, regardless of whether or not the business structure is a Sole Proprietorship, a Non-Profit Organization, or an LLC.

Why does my business need an EIN?

  1. Legal requirement: One of the primary reasons your business needs an EIN is that it's often a legal requirement. If your business has employees, operates as a partnership or corporation, or withholds taxes on income, you are required to obtain an EIN. Additionally, certain types of businesses, such as those involved in trusts, estates, or non-profit organizations, also need an EIN.
  2. Hiring employees: If you plan to hire employees, an EIN is necessary for various purposes. This number is used to report employment taxes, submit payroll information, and file W-2 forms for your employees. It simplifies the process of reporting and paying federal taxes related to employment.
  3. Opening a business bank account: Most banks require an EIN to open a business bank account. Separating your personal and business finances is crucial for legal and accounting purposes. With an EIN, you can establish a distinct identity for your business, making it easier to manage and track your financial transactions.
  4. Filing tax returns: Your EIN is used to file various tax returns, including income tax, employment tax, and excise tax returns. It ensures that your business is correctly identified when submitting tax-related documents to the IRS. This simplifies the tax filing process and ensures compliance with tax laws.
  5. Business credibility: Having an EIN can enhance your business's credibility and professionalism. It demonstrates that your venture is a legitimate entity and not just a hobby or personal endeavor. Some clients, suppliers, and partners may prefer to work with businesses that have an EIN, as it signifies a certain level of commitment and seriousness.

How to obtain an EIN?

Obtaining an EIN is a relatively straightforward process. You can apply for one online through the IRS website, via mail, or by fax. The online application (Form SS-4) is the most convenient and fastest method, allowing you to receive your EIN immediately upon completion.

During the application process, you will need to provide information about your business, such as its legal structure, the number of employees, and the nature of your business activities. Once approved, the IRS will issue your EIN, which you should keep in a secure place as it will be required for various business-related activities.

Do I need a State Tax ID Number?

The requirement for a state tax ID number depends on whether your business is liable to pay state taxes. State tax ID numbers can also be used for additional purposes, such as safeguarding against identity theft for sole proprietors.

Tax responsibilities vary at the state and local levels, so it's important to consult your state's websites for accurate information.

To determine if you need a state tax ID, research and familiarize yourself with your state's laws regarding income taxes and employment taxes, which are the most common forms of state taxes for small businesses.

The process of obtaining a state tax ID number is similar to obtaining a federal tax ID number, but the specific steps may vary by state.

State income and employment taxes for businesses differ across states. While seven states have no income tax, two impose tax solely on dividend income. States that do impose income tax calculate it based on the business structure.

Additionally, taxes on employment insurance and workers' compensation insurance vary by state. Consider these factors, along with other implications, when estimating startup costs and choosing a business structure.

Visit your state's website to determine if acquiring a state tax ID number is necessary for paying state taxes.

Summing It Up

In conclusion, an EIN is a vital identifier for your business that is required by the IRS for tax purposes. It ensures compliance with legal and financial obligations and simplifies processes such as tax filing, hiring employees, and opening a business bank account.

Obtaining an EIN is relatively easy and can provide your business with credibility and professionalism. If you're starting a business or have one that meets the criteria, it's important to obtain an EIN to ensure smooth operations and compliance with the law.