If you are a company thinking of doing business in the US, you will need an EIN. Whether or not you get the EIN as a foreign company or a domestic (meaning formed in the US) has other implications and will be discussed in a later blog.  The EIN is the only number the IRS can use to track a company in the US, and it will be required to complete contracts with private companies, banking information and many other business and government forms. 

Foreign companies can do business in the US without an EIN, but there are special criteria as to what is allowed and other required forms.  This topic will be covered in a separate blog.  If you want to do business more easily here, an EIN will be key.

Because of the importance of this number, the IRS does not make it easy to get one as a domestic or foreign company.  To receive one relatively quickly, a responsible party completing the application must have an SSN, EIN or ITIN and complete the SS-4 online.  You can do that here on the IRS website.  If the information you provide on the application as the responsible person matches to the IRS database and other criteria matches, you should receive the EIN immediately.  

If you don’t have a responsible party who has one of the required numbers, you can’t complete an on-line EIN application, and you will then need to complete a paper SS-4.   Once you complete the SS-4 form you can fax or mail the application to the IRS based on the address your US company will use.  That address or fax number listing is available from the IRS here.  Of course, faxing is must faster than mailing and if you fax you should receive the EIN within 5 business days.

If you are applying for an EIN as a foreign company, there are a number of critical steps that must be included on the SS-4 to have it processed by the IRS.  The IRS doesn’t always share in the instructions everything you need to do to complete an application, but they have lots of reasons they won’t process one which they only share upon rejection.  After completing over 100 of these applications, Cloud Tax Matters can share the know how to get this done timely and offers this as a fixed fee process.

Once you receive your EIN, protect it.  Don’t share it in an email, only provide it to trusted sources, and don’t give it to anyone who calls you on the phone.

Also, only use links that are really associated with the IRS to apply for an EIN, like those above.  There are many services and/or companies who will try to get you to give them your personal information by creating phishing scams.  When in doubt, start at the irs.gov website and link from there to trusted sites.

EIN Checklist:

  1. For speed, use a responsible party who has an EIN/ITIN or SSN and apply on-line.
  2. If you can’t process on-line, complete the SS-4 and fax.
  3. Once received, protect it!

Any questions, reach out to Cloud Tax Matters for help.