Just as a Social Security Number identifies an individual taxpayer, an Employer Identification Number (also known as an EIN, Federal Tax ID Number, or FTIN) is a nine-digit number that identifies a business entity. In addition to the IRS and other tax authorities using EINs to track payments, reports, and other filings, other government agencies, financial institutions, and even vendors may ask for a company’s EIN when opening accounts, approving loans, or engaging in transactions with the business.
While a business entity can have only one EIN, a business owner can request more than one EIN if they have multiple business entities.
Let’s dig into this a bit further.
Do You Need Multiple EIN Numbers for Different Businesses?
If business owners have set up various businesses as independent legal entities (e.g., separate LLCs, C Corporations, S Corporations, or any combination of these), they will need to obtain an EIN from the IRS for each entity. Each business entity must have a distinctive EIN. In other words, business entities may not share an EIN. This rule applies whether starting multiple business entities at the same time or dividing an existing business into separate entities.
Multiple EINs are NOT required when there are multiple divisions under one legal entity. Also, only one EIN is required when running multiple businesses by filing DBAs (fictitious names) under one business entity.
Who Can Apply for an EIN Number?
The IRS has the following eligibility requirements for applying for an EIN online:
- The principal business the EIN is being requested for must be located in the U.S. or U.S. Territories.
- The person applying must be a responsible party, the person who owns or controls the entity.
- The responsible party must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number such as a Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Individuals without an SSN or ITIN must request EINs by mail, fax, or phone.
How Many EIN Numbers Can You Have?
Each business entity can have only one EIN assigned to it. However, if a business changes from one entity type to another (e.g., converts from an LLC to a C Corporation), it must retire the existing EIN and obtain a new one.
There’s no limit to how many EINs a responsible party may request, provided they’re requesting them for separate entities.
How to Apply for More Than One EIN
Obtaining multiple EINs is a relatively simple process, and EINs are free. However, the IRS allows a taxpayer to apply for only one EIN daily, so there’s no way to request more than one EIN at a time.
To get an EIN, taxpayers must complete Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, and submit it through the IRS’s EIN online application system or by mail or fax to the IRS. Submit separate SS-4 forms for each additional EIN. Again, none of the forms may be dated or filed on the same day.
The fastest way to obtain an EIN is online through the IRS website. After verifying the information submitted, the IRS sends the EIN immediately. Business owners who prefer not to deal with filling out the forms and filing them on separate days can turn to CorpNet to handle the process for them. And with some of CorpNet’s formation packages, we include EIN application filings at no additional cost.
How Long Does It Take to Get an EIN?
It’s important to plan ahead and apply for EINs so that they are issued in time for any tax return or payment deadlines.
Receiving an EIN is immediate when applying online (as long as all info submitted is in good order).
When faxing Form SS-4, the IRS estimates a turnaround time of approximately one week (two weeks if no return fax number is included when faxing the form).
It can take at least four to five weeks to get an EIN when sending the SS-4 form by mail.
Can You Have More Than One EIN Number?
In summary, yes. As long as each EIN is for a separate business entity, a person may apply for multiple EINs. Just remember, you must request one EIN at a time and not on the same day! While the IRS online system and Form SS-4 are rather simple to navigate, I encourage you to reach out to my team at CorpNet for help if you need one — or several — EINs. We’re here to save you time and ensure your filings get done right!
Need an EIN for Your Business?
If an EIN application isn’t completed correctly or on time, it could mean you will need to delay hiring employees, applying for business licenses, and taking care of other essential business activities. By authorizing CorpNet to fill out the EIN application and submit it for you, you can avoid those issues.