Wondering how long it takes to get an EIN number? Well, it depends on how you apply. The timing for the EIN application process varies based on if you apply online, using fax, or through the mail.
Applying for an EIN can be stressful, particularly if you need the number quickly but you aren’t sure how long the process is going to take. To help you out, this guide explains how long the EIN application process takes, and it breaks down the answer by application method. Here’s what you need to know if you want to apply for an EIN.
Applying for an EIN online is the easiest and fastest option. If you have all of the information you need, you should be able to get your number the same day that you apply. To speed up the process, make sure that you have the following details ready when you start your EIN application:
- Legal name and doing-business-as name for your company.
- Address and contact details for your business.
- Name of the responsible party and their Social Security number or taxpayer identification number.
- Type of business entity or other entity types if relevant. For example, your business may be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. Or you may be applying for an entity such as a trust, estate, church-controlled organization, etc.
- The reason you need an EIN.
- The number of employees you expect to hire over the next year.
- Whether or not you expect to pay more than $1,000 in payroll tax over the next year.
- Breakdown of whether any employees are household or agricultural employees.
If you have everything that you need, applying online should be relatively straightforward. Keep in mind that you can only obtain one EIN per day. If you need multiple EINs, you won’t be able to obtain them all on the same day.
There are a wide variety of reasons why you may need an EIN. In a lot of cases, businesses need EINs because they’re getting ready to hire their first employee, they need to pay a federal tax such as an excise tax, or they want to file a certain type of business tax return. In other cases, the reason may be more obscure such as an exempt entity getting ready to issue tax exempt bonds or an estate needing to report income.
Just choose the reason that is closest to why you’re applying, and if multiple answers apply to your situation, just choose the main reason. Don’t worry. Your application won’t be denied if you choose an answer that doesn’t fully reflect your situation.
Applying By Fax
You can also apply by fax. To do this, you will print Form SS-4, fill it out, and fax it to the toll free number for the Internal Revenue Service. At this point, you can wait and have the IRS mail the EIN to you. This generally takes a few weeks.
Alternatively, for faster service, you should include a return fax number on your faxed application. Typically, the IRS will fax you the EIN within five or so business days. You can start using the EIN as soon as you get it.
Applying By Mail
Applying for an EIN through the mail is typically the most time-consuming approach. When you apply for these business tax identification numbers through the mail, you should expect to wait about four weeks for processing. This is the traditional processing time, but since the COVID pandemic, the IRS has been behind in processing paper returns and forms. As a result, you may end up waiting even longer for your EIN.
It’s also important to consider the time involved in preparing an EIN application for the mail. You have to print it out and fill it out by hand. In some cases, you may be able to fill out a pdf version of the application online and then print it out. Then, you must find an envelope, get stamps, and possibly drive to the post office. Ideally, you shouldn’t leave the application in an unattended mailbox because you don’t want people to steal your personal business information.
International applicants that aren’t based in the United States can also request an EIN over the phone. Unfortunately, these are the only EIN applicants who can use the phone. If you’re based in the United States, you must apply using mail, fax, or online.
Apply For Your EIN Today
Do you want your EIN as fast as possible? Then, it’s time to start the application process online. Grab the details about your business, get comfortable, and in a very short time, you should finish the process and get your number.