An Employer Identification Number, or EIN, is essentially the same thing to your business as a Social Security Number is to you personally. An EIN is necessary to file tax returns, open bank accounts, apply for licenses and request loans and credit cards. If you misplace your EIN or are unsure of what it is, you won’t be able to complete routine operating activities. However, finding your EIN is relatively simple and a few sources are available to help.

Tax Returns

Any business tax return you file shows your EIN number. Your EIN is displayed in the upper right corner of the first page of your return, and may appear on other schedules or attachments included with your return. Examples of returns you may have filed include your annual income tax return, employment tax returns and federal unemployment tax returns.

IRS Correspondence

Letters you receive from the IRS will show your EIN number in the upper corner of the first page. Correspondence from the IRS may include general letters from your company’s initial organization, bills, information regarding returns you’ve filed or requests for forms or other information.

Third Parties

If you have business bank accounts, have applied for state licenses or use an accountant or payroll service, you provided your EIN to establish services or open the accounts. A representative from a third-party organization such as these can look up your EIN. Contact any of these service providers that apply to you and request your company’s EIN.

Call the IRS

The IRS has a special hotline specifically for businesses. IRS Business Services agents can retrieve your EIN and provide it to you over the phone. To reach this department, call 800-829-4933 Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time. The agent who takes your call will request other identifying information for the business and verify you’re authorized to receive the EIN. Any business owner, partner or corporate officer on record with the IRS is automatically authorized to receive information concerning the company.