An Employer Identification Number is used by the Internal Revenue Service to identify taxpayers who are required to file business tax forms and returns. The EIN is used by employers such as corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and government agencies. It may also be used in place of a social security number for a sole proprietorship or private contractor. Businesses usually need to apply for a new EIN when the ownership structure has changed. A new EIN may also be required if a business name change is related to a change in structure.
Items you will need
- IRS Form 1120 (or 1120S)
- IRS Form 1065
- IRS Form SS-4
Contact the IRS to inform them of your business name change. If you are a sole proprietorship, you will need to mail a letter from the address where you file your tax returns informing the IRS of the name change. The letter will need the signature of the business owner or authorized representative. If you are changing a corporation name, you will need to mark the name change box on form 1120 or 1120S for an s-corporation when filing your return. For a partnership, you will mark the name change box on form 1065 when filing your return.
Fill out form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number. Even though you already have a business and are changing structure or ownership, you still need to fill out and submit form SS-4 to the IRS. There are several ways to do this. You can mail or fax form SS-4 to the IRS, file for a new EIN online or receive a new EIN instantly by contacting the Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933.
Remove your old EIN and business name from any documents that may be used for filing the upcoming year’s tax return. Once you are assigned a new EIN, the old EIN will no longer be valid. Be consistent in using your new business name and EIN for all future reporting of taxes. The IRS may assess penalties against your business and delay your return if you fail to do this.
Alert your bank of your new business name and EIN. Most banks require that you use your EIN to open the business bank account. Any discrepancies on financial documentation from your bank may cause the IRS to assess penalties and interest against the business.
If a business name change is not related to a change in ownership or business structure, the IRS may not require you to apply for a new EIN. The IRS guide "Understanding Your EIN" contains information on this subject.