What is an EIN and how do I get one for my startup?

You need an EIN or employer identification number to open a corporate bank account. This is equivalent to a social security number for individuals. The form you will complete is called a Form SS-4. The easiest way to file the form is online at the IRS website. Here are a few tips for completing the form:

  1. Item 7b – you will need the social security number of the person who will be completing the form on behalf of the company.I almost always use the president of the company for my clients.
  2. Item 9a – check off the appropriate entity, and if you are checking off corporations, make sure and fill in the applicable tax filing the corporation will be making (e.g. 1120 or 1120S).
  3. Item 10 – check off “Starting new business” and provide brief description
  4. Item 11 – I usually put the date of incorporation.
  5. Item 12 – For most companies, there is no reason to have the closing accounting month anything other than December.
  6. Item 18 – This question is referring to the “applicant entity.”In other words, the company, not the individual applying for the EIN on behalf of the company.Therefore, even if the President of the company has applied for an EIN on behalf of other companies that he started in the past, you will still check off “NO.”

That’s it. Sign it and keep it in your files. Even if you are filing it online or via the telephone, you still need to keep a signed copy in your files.

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