To look up an Employer Identification Number (EIN), start by checking a W-2 form. Business owners needing to find their EINs should call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Looking for an EIN
An EIN is a tax identification number for business entities. There may be several reasons that a person would need the EIN. It may be required on an important business license application, or it may be requested during tax season. There are several different ways to find an EIN.
Finding the EIN for an Employer
In order to find an employer's EIN, the easiest place to look is on one's latest W-2 form. If the W-2 form is not easily accessible or lost, employees can reach out to the business' accountant, who should be able to supply a copy of their latest W-2 form.
Finding the EIN for One's Business
If business owners can't remember their EIN, there are several options for looking it up. First, they should look for the original notice from the IRS when they provided the EIN. If that's hard to find, the second option is to reach out to their bank branch and request the EIN, which is necessary for opening a business account, from the bank. Another place to check for the EIN is on a previously filed tax return because it is required as part of the tax preparation. Lastly, business owners can call the IRS directly to obtain the information, specifically the Business & Specialty Tax division. Although it may be tempting to ask an assistant to help complete this task, only authorized persons will be able to get the information from the IRS agent.
Another way to find an EIN is via the specific Secretary of State website for the individual state in which the company is registered. Utilize the search box on the page to look up the business' name and locate the EIN.
Finding the EIN for Publicly Traded Businesses
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR online forms and filings database is a vast resource of information regarding publicly traded businesses. On the website, one can view quarterly filing reports and other important documents that hold value to investors and shareholders. The EIN for a company is often cited in these documents.
Use an EIN Search Engine
If it's necessary to constantly look up various EINs for whatever purpose, it may be best to subscribe to an EIN search engine. These companies typically charge a subscription fee in exchange for access to their databases of EINs. These databases can look up not only publicly traded business EINs, but also those of sole proprietorships, trusts and estate information. Some industries that utilize these services include credit companies and tax preparers. These search engines often also provide additional information, such as known addresses and phone numbers.
Alternatives to Finding the EIN
If the reason for looking up EIN revolves around finding business ownership information or contact information, there are easier alternatives to consider, including checking the business website's about page. Even if the information is not publicly listed, it is possible to reach out to the contact email address or phone number and request the information. Contacting companies via social media accounts is another way to make a connection before requesting information about the business' owner or other details.