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What is an EIN and do I need one?

“EIN” stands for Employer Identification Number and is required by the IRS for tax identification purposes for any business with employees as well as businesses falling under a few other categories.

Specifically, the IRS requires that a business obtain an EIN if it:

  • has employees;
  • operates as a corporation or partnership;
  • withholds taxes on income other than wages paid to nonresident aliens other than income;
  • has a Keogh plan; or
  • is involved with certain types of organizations specified by the IRS.

There are also reasons to obtain an EIN even when not strictly required by the IRS. For instance, banks may require an EIN when opening certain types of business accounts and when applying for credit cards. You may also need an EIN if you use independent contractors.