What is an EIN?

An EIN, or an Employer Identification Number, is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN) or a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). Your EIN helps to identify your business, and is often required when filling out forms for your business, or when completing business activity forms, tax forms, or other government forms. EINs do not expire, and are linked with your company from its initial set up all the way through to the wind-down process. You'll need to know your EIN to complete any forms or documents within this time.

EINs are different from Social Security numbers in that they are not issued to employees, but rather to employers, sole traders, and other groups and organizations taking part in business activities. Even sole traders and small business owners will need to apply for an EIN, and will need to know their EIN for tax reporting purposes.

All companies need to provide their EIN when it comes time to complete their taxes, or even when completing other forms and processes. For this reason it's essential to know your EIN. An EIN lookup service will help you find your EIN quickly and easily. Knowing your EIN will allow you to provide information to the IRS, to your accountant, or to your tax officer. You'll also be able to provide important information about your company's holdings, any assets and liabilities, and other business activity-related information.

Fortunately, obtaining information about your own EIN is relatively easy. If you have made a formal application for an EIN, you will have received documentation containing your EIN, thus precluding the need to perform an EIN lookup. You can also ask your bank or state agency for your EIN, or use the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system to perform a quick EIN lookup. Performing an EIN lookup using EDGAR is free. If you're still struggling to find your EIN, you can also use Melissa Data, which offers comprehensive information about companies, organizations, and businesses, including EIN lookup data. This service provides a wealth of valuable information about companies and organizations, and you'll be able to undertake an EIN lookup quickly and easily. If your business is a not-for-profit, you'll be able to perform your EIN lookup search for free.

If you are performing an EIN lookup for another company, you'll find that EIN lookup services are usually available at a cost, and can usually be undertaken online or over the phone. Some EIN lookup services allow a small number of EIN lookup searches for free; however most free EIN lookup searches are more time-consuming than their paid equivalents. EINs are often found on company invoices for example, or on a company's DUNS report, but these will need to be manually searched for and collated. Most, if not all, public companies will list their EIN on the first pages of many of their publicly available forms and documents, simplifying your EIN lookup search.