Once you incorporate your company, you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). It’s essential for hiring employees, filing taxes, and opening a bank account for your company.
How you get an EIN depends on whether or not you are a US citizen with a social security number (SSN). If you’re a US citizen, getting an EIN is fairly straightforward.
If you aren’t, you’ll first need to get an individual tax identification number (ITIN) in lieu of an SSN, and use your ITIN to apply for an EIN.
- If you have an SSN, you can apply for an EIN by filing Form SS-4 online with the IRS
- If you don’t have an SSN, you can get a tax ID (an ITIN, specifically), and then using it to file Form SS-4 online
- If your business is not registered in the US, you’ll need to apply for an EIN by submitting Form SS-4 via phone, snail mail, or fax
How to get an EIN if you already have an SSN
If you’re already a US citizen and you have an SSN, you can apply for an EIN by filling out and submitting Form SS-4 to the IRS.
Information you need in order to fill out Form SS-4
Before you sit down to fill out Form SS-4, make sure you have the following information at your disposal:
- Your company’s legal name, as well as its doing business as name (DBA) if applicable
- Your company’s address
- The name, SSN, and signature of your principal officer (referred to by the IRS as a responsible party)
- The date your corporation was formed
- The maximum number of employees you expect to have within the next 12 months
- The date on which your financial year ends
How to submit Form SS-4
You can submit Form SS-4 online, via the IRS website.
When you incorporate using Capbase, we obtain an EIN for you—no need to fill out a submit Form SS-4.
How to get an ITIN if you don’t have an SSN
If you don’t have an SSN, you’ll need an ITIN in order to apply for an EIN.
Only one person at your company needs an ITIN: the individual acting as your principal officer (referred to as a responsible party by the IRS.)
Note: This only applies if your company is incorporated in the US. If you are incorporated in a different country, and need to apply for an EIN (for instance, in order to hire American employees), you can only get one by submitting Form SS-4 via phone, fax, or snail mail.
Since the vast majority of startups raising funds in the US are incorporated in the US, the rest of this guide assumes you have a US company.
How to get an ITIN
To get an ITIN, you must fill out and submit IRS Form W-7.
To fill out Form W-7, you’ll need the following information:
- Your address
- A current (non-expired) passport or another supporting document, certified by the issuing agency
You must submit Form W-7 by mail, or via an acceptance agent (AA) or certified acceptance agent (CAA).
By mail, send your application to:
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
If you’re sending your application by private delivery service, send it to:
Mail Stop 6090-AUSC
3651 S. Interregional, Hwy 35
Austin, TX 78741-0000
To submit via an AA/CAA, find an acceptance agent in your home country.
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