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Federal Employer Identification Number

Use Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, to apply for an Employer Identification Number (FEIN), by mail, telephone or fax.

Who must file:

  1. You pay wages to one or more employees
  2. You are required to have an FEIN to use on any return, statement or other document, even if you are not an employer

(File early enough to allow time for processing Form SS-4 and try to obtain the FEIN before you need the number for a return or deposit. The IRS recommends that you apply for your FEIN at least four weeks prior to starting your business if registering by mail.)

All businesses, except those Sole Proprietorships without employees, are required to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). Trusts, estates, corporations, partnerships or nonprofit organizations (churches, clubs, etc.) must use FEINs, even if they have no employees. Individuals who file Schedules C or F (Form 1040) must use FEINs if they are required to file Excise, Employment, Alcohol, Tobacco or Firearms Returns. If you are a Sole Proprietor, file only one Form SS-4, Application for Federal Employer Identification Number, regardless of the number of businesses operated or the number of trade names under which a business operates. However, each partnership, trust, estate or other entity must file a separate application. If you have become the new owner of an existing business, you cannot use the FEIN of the former owner.

If you have incorporated a Sole Proprietorship or formed a Partnership, you must get a new FEIN for the Corporation or Partnership. If you do not have a number by the time a return is due, write “applied for” and the date you applied in the space shown for the number.

If you do not have a number by the time a tax deposit is due, send your payment to the IRS Service Center where you file your returns. Make checks payable to Department of Treasury and show your name (as shown on Form SS-4), address, kind of tax, period covered and the date you applied for your FEIN.

Applications for an FEIN can be processed by:


Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Phone: (800) 829-4933 (Business & Specialty Tax Line)

Fax-TIN: (859) 669-5760

For more information about FEINs and for federal tax information, see Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records, available at 

Other helpful federal tax information:

Form SS-4, Application for Federal Employer Identification Number
Form 1040, ES Estimated Tax for Individuals
Publication 509, Tax Calendars for Current Year
Publication 1518, Tax Calendar for Small Businesses & Self-Employed
Publication 910, Guide to Free Tax Services
Publication 1066C, A Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop (DVD)
Publication 3207, Small Business Resource Guide (CD)
Some publications can be viewed online or ordered at

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