Sometimes it’s hard to determine whether or not you need an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, for your LLC. Though there are circumstances under which you don’t absolutely need one (if you’re the sole member of the LLC, for example), it’s recommended you get one. Claiming your business on your own taxes and using your own Social Security Number makes it difficult to keep separate your business from your personal finances. It might seem easier to just pool everything together, but in the long run you’ll be thankful you kept it divided. What if you decide to expand your company later, or take on a business partner(s)? Filing your business taxes separately from the time you create an LLC will help you stay organized and maintain neater records Incfile registered agent review.

(For the record, if you plan to hire employees or are part of a partnership, you will need an EIN regardless.) Now that you know the importance of an EIN, take a look at the ways you can apply for one:

Online. This is probably the most common method. Simply visit IRS.gov between the hours of 6 and 12 a.m., Monday through Friday; 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., on Saturday; or 7 p.m. and 12 a.m. on Sunday. Make sure you set aside enough time to complete the application all at once, as you won’t be able to save and return to your work.

By phone. Call the toll-free Business & Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933 and have an assistor take your information. You’ll be asked the same questions you would be online, but because you’ll be talking with an actual person, make sure you have everything you need ready. (The questions are pretty basic, running the gamut of what sort of legal structure you’re applying for (LLC); how many members are in the LLC; which state/territory the business is physically located; the reason you’re requesting an EIN; who is/will be primarily in charge of the LLC, as well as that person’s name and address.) By fax or mail. You’ll need to print out the application and fill it out by hand, then either fax it to the Internal Revenue Service at (859) 669-5760, or mail it with the address “Internal Revenue Service, Cincinnati, OH 45999”.

Of all of these, the online application is generally preferable, because if you mail in an application and there is information missing, it will take longer to process. The phone is your second best bet, though less people use this because the phone call could take a long time and it’s difficult to multi-task. If you don’t think you’ll have enough time to sit down at the computer and fill out the application all at once, go ahead and fax it. You’ll be able to fill out and send the application at your leisure.

Starting an LLC? You Might Need an EIN

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