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For federal income tax purposes, a single-member LLC classified as a disregarded entity generally must use the owner's social security number (SSN) or EIN for all information returns and reporting related to income tax. For example, if a disregarded entity LLC that is owned by an individual is required to provide a Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, the W-9 should provide the owner’s SSN or EIN, not the LLC’s EIN.
However, for certain Employment Tax and Excise Tax requirements discussed below, the EIN of the LLC must be used instead. Therefore, an LLC will need an EIN if it has any employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below. Thus, most new single-member LLCs classified as disregarded entities will need to obtain an EIN. An LLC applies for an EIN by filing Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number. See Form SS-4 for information on applying for an EIN.
A single-member LLC that is a disregarded entity that does not have employees and does not have an excise tax liability does not need an EIN. It should use the name and TIN of the single member owner for federal tax purposes. However, if a single-member LLC, whose taxable income and loss will be reported by the single member owner, nevertheless needs an EIN to open a bank account or if state tax law requires the single-member LLC to have a federal EIN, then the LLC can apply for and obtain an EIN.
You can apply for your EIN by fax, phone or mail; however, the IRS prefers that you submit your application online. When you do, you can receive your EIN immediately after completing the short application. Go to the IRS website to access the EIN Assistant page and click on “Begin Application” at the bottom to get started.
The first question requires you to select the type of EIN you are applying for such as a sole proprietorship, corporation, LLC, partnership or estate. You then need to choose the option that best describes why you are applying for an EIN. This can be to start a new business, for banking purposes or for a range of other reasons. The online questionnaire then requests your name and Social Security number before you can finish your application.
Once you complete all sections of the application, the system will generate a new EIN that you can begin using immediately. An official IRS document will load onto your computer, which confirms that your application was successful and provides your EIN. It’s a good idea to save a copy on your computer and to print one for your records in case you forget the EIN.
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