What Is an IRS Form SS-4? | Federal EIN Application

A Federal EIN Application (IRS Form SS-4) is used to request a Federal Employer Identification Number. A unique number that is used by the IRS to identify a business, an FEIN should be registered early on. Both the federal government and banking institutions often use a company’s FEIN to identify it, making an FEIN a necessity for companies that want to hire employees or do business under business bank accounts. An FEIN can be acquired by filling out an IRS Form SS-4 and then sending that form in either online, through physical mail, or through fax. Filing your IRS Form SS-4 online is usually advised, as the processing time is much faster.

Steps to getting an IRS Form SS-4

  1. What is an IRS Form SS-4?
  2. What is the SS-4 Form Used for?
  3. Apply for an FEIN Using an SS-4 Form
  4. Register your FEIN SS-4 Form Online
  5. Register your FEIN SS-4 Form by Mail or Fax
  6. How Long Does it Take to Complete an SS-4 Form?

1. What is an IRS Form SS-4?

The IRS Form SS-4 is also known as the “Application for Employer Identification Number.” This is a short, two-page form that requests the following information:

  • The legal name, trade name, and mailing address of the business.
  • The type of business it is: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other.
  • The responsible party for the business in addition to their SSN or ITIN.
  • The purpose of acquiring a FEIN.
  • The major activity that the business completes.

Once the form has been filled out, it can be sent in online, through mail, or through fax.

2. What is the SS-4 Form Used for?

Any entity which needs to pay federal taxes or hire employees will need to fill out the IRS Form SS-4. There are also a few other reasons why you might need an EIN:

  • When you start a new business and you expect to hire employees.
  • When a business that previously didn’t have employees is hiring employees.
  • If you’re interested in opening a business bank account and need the EIN for your financial institution.
  • If your business is changing business types, it may need to update its EIN registration.
  • If you have purchased a business and it did not already have an EIN, you may want to apply for an EIN.
  • If you are administering an estate, you will need an EIN for some of the estate functions, such as bank accounts.
  • If you need to file federal income taxes for your business, and you aren’t a sole-proprietorship, you will need an EIN.
  • If you need to establish credit for your business.

EINs are also used for things such as applying for permits and wholesale licenses.

3. Apply for an FEIN Using an SS-4 Form

An SS-4 form can be filled out to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number. This SS-4 form can then be sent in online, through mail, or through fax. The SS-4 itself can be filled out digitally.

Before you begin to fill out the SS-4 form, make sure you have the formation documents for the business, in addition to the full name, mailing address, and Social Security number or ITIN of the preparer.

4. Register your FEIN SS-4 Form Online

Through a tax ID service, your FEIN SS-4 form can be submitted online. Once your SS-4 form has been filled out, it can be submitted for processing, and you can receive your FEIN within an hour.

Submitting your form online has a few advantages over other methods:

  • It’s much faster than other methods of filing.
  • If you make a mistake, the mistake can be corrected immediately.
  • It’s a convenient way of getting your FEIN delivered to you.

If your business needs an FEIN to hire employees, open a bank account, or perform other time-sensitive tasks, getting an FEIN online is usually the best option. There is no downside to applying for an FEIN online, while other methods of application can often take much longer.

5. Register your FEIN SS-4 Form by Mail or Fax

Once it has been completed, a FEIN SS-4 form can be filled out, printed on paper, and then either faxed or mailed in.

If you choose to fax your FEIN SS-4 form, you will need to have access to a fax machine. You can fax the form directly, but you may not know whether the fax arrived. You will receive your EIN by fax within a few business days. You will need to have a receiving fax machine if you want to get your EIN in this way.

If you choose to mail your FEIN SS-4 form, you can fill out the paper copy and then mail it in. While this is a fast, secure way of filing, it does mean that you may need ot wait up to six weeks for processing. How long processing takes depends on how busy the season is.

Either faxing or mailing in the FEIN SS-4 form is a reliable way to receive an FEIN, but it will take longer than completing the form digitally and filing it online. Completing the form and filing it online will give you a usable FEIN within an hour.

6. How Long Does it Take to Complete an SS-4 Form?

Given the right information, an SS-4 form shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes to fill out. The SS-4 requires basic information about the business entity, information about the responsible party, and the type of entity that is applying. In addition to that, the SS-4 form will also need to declare a reason that it needs an EIN.

Completing an SS-4 form generally does not take long, but receiving an EIN may take longer. Depending on how the SS-4 form is submitted, it can take anywhere from a few days to weeks to receive a Federal EIN. If the form is mailed in, it can take up to six weeks.

Most businesses are eventually going to need to apply for a FEIN. If you aren’t a sole-proprietorship with no employees, it’s likely that you already need an FEIN. The easiest way to submit an IRS Form SS-4 is by filling it out digitally and sending it in online.

Written by Maurice Mallory