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How Do I Find an EIN?

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How Do I Find an EIN?

By NicoleD
Published: August 26, 2010 Updated: June 17, 2011

Most businesses need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, from the IRS. If you misplaced your EIN, need to establish an EIN, or want to look up another business's EIN, read this guide for fast answers to your EIN questions.

What is an EIN, and do I need one?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used by the IRS to identify a business entity. EINs are usually written in a nine digit series, for example XX-XXXXXXX.

Non-employers will need an EIN if their businesses operate as a corporation or partnership. If you aren't sure if your business needs an EIN, use this handy checklist from the IRS. Answering yes to any of the questions in the list means that you will need to acquire an EIN for your business.

How do I get an EIN?

You can apply for an EIN from in several ways - through the IRS's online application, by calling their Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933, or by faxing or mailing Form SS-4 to your appropriate filing office.

I lost my EIN - What now?

If you've misplaced your EIN, don't worry; the IRS makes it easy to retrieve a lost EIN. In fact, you have several convenient methods of finding a lost EIN:

  • First, look through your files for the confirmation notice issued by the IRS back when you applied for your EIN.

  • If you used your EIN to open a bank account or apply for any type of state or local license, you should contact the bank or agency to secure your EIN.

  • Ask the IRS to search for your EIN by calling the Business & Specialty Tax Line. You will need to provided identifying information to verify that you are authorized to receive the EIN.

How do I find another business's EIN?

There are several ways to try to locate another business's EIN.

  • Public companies print their EIN on the first page of their 10-Ks, 20-Fs and other SEC filings. You can locate these documents for free through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR database.

  • Non profit organizations often include the EIN on their Form 990, which provides a non profit organization's financial information and executive names. GuideStar maintains a free, searchable database of non profits' Form 990.

  • Private companies may list their EIN on their company website. You can also search fee-based resources such as Westlaw (BUS-TRACK and/or FEIN-ALL) or Lexis (D&B/FEIN).

Related Resources

What's Your Business Number? - a Business.gov guide to all your important business identification numbers=

Message Edited by NicoleD on 01-19-2010 12:17 PM

About the Author:


I have apparently gotten an EIN at sometime in my life, I'm guessing when I got my CNA License through the state of MO. I was issued one. Only nobody ever told me I had one. Recently I went to apply for one and it says that I already have one issued to my social security number. The part of the IRS I'm needing to contact is shut down, I've contacted everyone I can think of to try and get this number that I desperately need. How else can I find my number?
FYI in most states you need an EIN before you can setup a corporation or LLC etc. 

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