If you have been told you need to complete an SS-4 form but didn’t know what it was or what to do with it, then hopefully the following will be of some help.
With information gleaned from the IRS, we will try to explain, in simple terms, exactly what the form is, what it is used for, and how to complete it, helping you to make sure there are no errors that can delay the processing of the application.
What Is an SS-4 form?
Form SS-4, available from the IRS, is used to obtain an employer identification number (EIN). The EIN is a unique nine-digit number, in the format of two numbers, a dash, then seven numbers, for example, 21-9876543. It is assigned to any employer, sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, estate, trust, certain individuals, or any other entity for tax filing and reporting.
According to the IRS, the SS-4 must be kept up-to-date. Any changes to your responsible party, location, or address must be reported to the IRS within 60 days of such change.
An EIN is not only used to identify an employer. Many other purposes legally require the production of your employer identification number, such as opening a business bank account, applying for a business loan, or if you wish to accept credit and debit cards as forms of payment.
The purpose of form SS-4.
You use form SS-4 to get your EIN, which distinguishes you from every other employer as far as tax reporting and filing is concerned. The information contained in the form will establish your business tax account.
It should be used for business purposes only. Your EIN must never be used in place of a social security number or an individual taxpayer ID number.
The form has lines numbered 1 through 18, some of which have more than one box to check, depending on your situation, and we’ll explain each of them in more detail below.
How to apply for your EIN.
You can submit an application for an EIN in a variety of ways depending on how quickly you need to use it. Applications can be made online, by telephone, by mail, or by fax. Choose whichever method will suit your circumstance better.
Applying online for your EIN.
This is by far the most common way used by US-based businesses to obtain an EIN. The process is basically the same as completing the SS-4 form by hand but is streamlined to make it easier, and after submitting the online form, you will receive your EIN almost immediately.
The process is like a question-and-answer interview. The application also has embedded hyperlinks to help topics and definitions, so there is no need to keep switching windows from the application screen to the instructions screen. The one drawback is that you must complete the online application in one session. If you get interrupted, you cannot save and return to continue later, and after 15 minutes of inactivity, the session will automatically close and you will have to start all over again.
If you don’t have time to complete the process yourself, or you would like a professional to handle this task for you check out LLC Formations. LLC Formations is a reputable company that provides business filing assistance to both help start and maintain your business.
Once the application has been completed and your answers verified, you will receive your EIN from the IRS immediately. You can then download, save and print the notice of confirmation to keep with your records.
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