How to Search for an EIN Number

by Judson Parker; Updated September 26, 2017

Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) are unique nine-digit numbers assigned by the IRS to all businesses that are required to file tax returns. If you are researching a company that is required to file tax returns, then you know that company is required to have an EIN. If you do not know a company’s EIN but need to find it, many resources are available to make this search easier.

Step 1

Contact the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). All public companies are required to file registration forms, periodic reports and other information with the SEC. Public companies list their EINs on the first page of their 20-F and 10-K forms. These forms are public information and anyone can access them. The SEC also has an online database known as EDGAR from which you can download most of these forms for free.

Step 2

Search the GuideStar database if the company you are trying to find an EIN for is or may be a nonprofit organization. GuideStar is a nonprofit database that tracks the financial information of nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations include their EIN on IRS Form 990, which is indexed in the GuideStar database. The database is a service that is provided free to the public.

Step 3

Look at the company’s website or a company invoice. Private companies and public companies that have not yet shown up in the SEC or GuideStar databases usually include their EIN on client invoices. This is to assist contractors and clients in filling out Form 1099 at tax time.

Step 4

Call the company directly. Most companies should be able to provide their EIN to you. However, some sole proprietors and single member limited-liability companies (SMLLCs) use their Social Security numbers in lieu of the EIN and may not wish to make this information readily available.

Warnings

  • Many fee-based services will allow you search for an EIN. However, most forms used to find an EIN are freely accessible to the public using the SEC database and GuideStar. Do not pay for the services of one of these companies without first exhausting other options.

About the Author

Judson Parker is a community organizer, business consultant and writer. He has directed campaigns for some of the largest charities in the United States. Parker holds a Bachelor of Science in sustainable enterprise management from the John Sperling School of Business at the University of Phoenix.