You may be in the process of finding out how to apply for an EIN (also known as a federal tax ID number). This is a prerequisite for operating your business, so you should get started early or at least follow a timeline for your operations. This article will answer the question, “How long will it take to receive your federal tax ID number?”
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) number is a 9-digit number issued by the IRS for tax purposes. An EIN or federal tax ID number is required for many reasons for business entities, taxable organizations, and non-profits. If any of the following apply to your business or entity you will need an EIN:
- Hiring Employees
- Operate your business as a Corporation or Partnership
- If you will file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
- Have a Keogh Plan
- If you’re involved with any of the following organizations/entities:
- Trusts (except certain grantor-owned revocable trusts)
- Real Estate mortgage investment conduits
- Non-profit organizations
- Farmers’ cooperatives
- Plan Administrators
How long it takes to receive your federal tax ID number is based on two things: how you filed for it and whether there were any errors in your application.
First, you can file for an EIN (using Form SS-4) in four ways: applying online, through mail, fax, or phone.
Estimated Timeframe for an Online FEIN Application
We recommend all our clients apply online if they meet the requirements because this is the fastest and easiest method. If you file for your EIN online, you should get it within an hour. However, online applications for a federal tax ID number are only for United States citizens with a social security number.
Once you gain access to the online form, you can begin to enter all the relevant information. The information includes the owner’s information, such as the responsible party, and the main details about the business. Once you have all the info, you enter it and submit it to the Internal Revenue Service online for verification. The validation work is nearly instant, taking just a few minutes. Once they finish the validation, they return to you the nine-digit unique identifier which is the tax identification number (EIN).
Applying Via Mail
If you don’t want to apply for a tax ID number online, you can also apply for it through mail. Some organizations prefer to do things on paper. You can fill out a form and then mail it in directly to the IRS. If you mail it in, the paperwork should be processed within six weeks.
The downside to mailing it in is that it does take a while, and if there are any questions related to your paperwork the process could take even longer.
Processing Time for Faxed Applications
You have another option when it comes to applying for a Tax ID (EIN) Number for your business, which is through fax. First, print out the application form. With the printed form in hand, you can complete it and submit it to the Internal Revenue Service. Fax can take four to five business days.
With a fax application, however, you do need access to a fax machine to send the submission and to receive your EIN from the IRS, too. This could make communications difficult, especially if you don’t have a dedicated fax machine available at home or in your office.
Telephone Application Process for International Applicants
If you are an international applicant outside of the U.S., another option is to apply via phone. Call the toll-free number of the IRS to begin your application process. This method may take a few hours but is highly variable depending on how busy they are and whether you can connect to someone from the IRS.
Common Reasons For Delay
More importantly, it will also be based on whether there were errors in the application. Some of the most common errors in submitting Form SS-4 are:
- Incomplete or inaccurate information
- Multiple applications
- Incorrect selection of business entity type
- Not naming the responsible party correctly
- Applying before incurring tax liabilities
If any errors are found in your EIN application, you will need to start the process again. It’s often beneficial to go through a tax ID service, as they will check your application first and let you know if there have been any errors. Otherwise, you could find yourself having to resubmit your application, extending the waiting time.
Get Help With Your EIN Application Today
The EIN application process can be long and tedious, or it can be smooth and straightforward. Contact our professional team to get instant help on applying for your EIN, or click the button below to begin.