When you apply for a small business loan or a license, you'll usually need to present proof of your corporation's employer identification number, or EIN. You might think this means providing a copy of the SS-4 form that you filled out to get your EIN. However, the bank or other entity is really asking for the EIN verification letter the IRS sent you after it processed your SS-4 application. If you can't find this document, you can easily call the IRS to receive a copy.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
To get a copy of the EIN verification letter you received after submitting your SS-4 application, call 1-800-829-4933 to access the IRS phone line for businesses. You'll receive a copy in the mail some weeks later.
SS-4 vs. EIN Verification Letter
Whether you complete the EIN application process through the mail or online, you'll provide thorough information about your corporation on IRS Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number. For example, this form will ask about your business's location, type of entity, the reason for requesting an EIN, number of employees and principal business activity among other questions.
If your accountant filled out a physical copy of the SS-4, he might have photocopied it before mailing it to the IRS. However, this application document won't suffice to prove your EIN for tax and financial purposes.
When you apply for the EIN online, you automatically get your EIN at the end of the application wizard. The IRS asks you to download your electronic EIN verification letter, which is what acts as proof that your corporation actually has the number you provide on applications. If you mailed your SS-4 application, it can take several weeks for the IRS to assign an EIN to your corporation and then physically mail you the EIN verification letter.
Finding Your EIN Verification Letter
Before you reach out to the IRS to request a copy of your EIN verification letter, first check that you or your accountant don't actually have a copy. For example, if you applied for your EIN online, you may still have the verification letter on your hard drive, so it helps to do a quick search. If you had your accountant handle the EIN application, she could have kept the copy that was physically mailed to the business, or she might also have a copy of the electronic version on her computer.
If you had the document at one time and used it to open a business bank account, you can try reaching out to your bank. It's also possible that you might have a copy stored with the first business tax returns you had prepared, so your tax preparer might be able to help.
Requesting Your EIN Verification Letter
If you can't locate the EIN verification letter, all it takes to get a copy is to call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933. This gets you in touch with the Business and Specialty Tax Line, which is available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. in your time zone.
While it helps to already have your EIN handy, the representative can search for it if necessary. In either case, you'll have to answer some questions to verify your identity as an authorized representative. For example, you should be an owner, trustee or officer of your corporation.
After completing this verification, the IRS will mail you a copy of the EIN verification letter. This usually takes a few weeks, but the IRS representative can provide a more specific time frame. When you receive the copy, place it somewhere safe and possibly make additional copies or scan it to your computer. You can also store your EIN verification letter securely using a cloud-based storage service. Taking these steps will reduce the need to request a replacement again if one copy gets lost.
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