An Employer Identification Number is a tax identification number issued to a business entity by the Internal Revenue Service. Business entities include corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships and some sole proprietors. Companies should verify EIN information provided by independent contractors and vendors to ensure tax returns are properly prepared. Resources exist that verify EINs. Each resource has different search limits, and not all information is available via public record for private entities.
Internal Revenue Service Resources
The IRS maintains all records regarding Social Security numbers, non profit TIN information and business EIN data. The IRS has two databases to verify information.
Exempt Organizations Select Check: This database verifies non profit business entity information. Users search by company name or EIN to verify the information. This database also informs users if a company has lost its non profit status with the IRS. This database helps businesses confirm information for both business vendor payments and company donations.
Online Taxpayer Identification Number Matching Program: This program allows employers and businesses to confirm tax identification number information provided by payees, such as contractors and vendors. This search is designed for businesses to confirm employee TIN numbers and limits the ability to confirm a business EIN. It is a free search and worth trying to verify a business EIN information, particularly with sole proprietors. A business can confirm up to 25 TIN numbers immediately through the online portal, while larger batches of up to 100,000 verifications take 24 hours.
Tax Preparation Software Resources
Tax preparation software programs have compiled large databases of information and can also pull information from public sources. When using software such as TurboTax or H&R Block, users are prompted to enter or search for employer information. Whether using the EIN or the company name, the program searches for a match and populates a field with found information for the user to then confirm. If the EIN and company name don't match the expectation, contact the company for a correction.
These programs become more robust each year and automatically pull information from previous years' databases and returns. This might create a problem if the previous year's information is incorrect. Always double-check when possible.
Ask the Company in Question
Using verified information on tax returns is imperative to prevent potential IRS tax return rejection. Completing returns without knowing that information on a W-2 or 1099-MISC is incorrect creates issues for all parties. If a return is rejected, contact the company that issued the W-2 or 1099-MISC form. The company will need to confirm the information and possibly contact the IRS to verify the EIN information. Errors result in reissuing payment forms.
The Social Security Administration issues and maintains information on personal tax identification numbers known as Social Security numbers. The SSA has a database similar to the IRS search, but it is strictly for individuals.