All companies, whether they are large, established corporations or a solo entrepreneurship must have federal and state employer identification numbers. The Internal Revenue Service issues Federal employer identification numbers (EIN) after reviewing the company’s application. The EIN is needed when hiring employees and filing business taxes. State Employer Identification is assigned by the state where the company is headquartered and is used to collect state taxes from clients or customers and to file state income tax. The State ID number is also known as the Sales Tax Permit, Certificate of Authority, Reseller Permit, State and Use Tax Number, Excise Business Tax or Taxpayer ID Number.
Applying for a State Tax Identification Number
Each state has its own policies and procedures for obtaining a state employer ID. Companies may apply for one by filling out an application with the state’s department of revenue. Several states such as Florida and Oklahoma permit businesses to apply for state-issued tax numbers via online registration systems. Proof of formal business organization is typically required, such as a copy of the articles of incorporation or partnership paperwork. Like a Social Security Number, businesses keep the same federal EIN until the company closes or reorganizes and applies for a new number.
Looking Up Lost or Misplaced Numbers
There are several possible ways to look up lost or misplaced EINs. You can try to locate paperwork that might contain your EIN. If that is unsuccessful, you can check with institutions and agencies to whom you may have provided the number. When contacting institutions make sure you have information on hand to verify that you are authorized to have access to the information.
You should be able to locate your ID number in the packet of information you received from the state when it issued you your number. Federal EINs can be found on the computer-generated notice sent by the IRS containing the number. You can also find the number on any state and federal tax returns your company has filed.
Other Ways to Look Up an Employer ID Number
Be aware that Employer ID numbers are treated in the same way as Social Security numbers. If you contact an agency or financial institution to obtain the ID number, you may be asked to answer security questions or provide other evidence that you are authorized to request the Employer ID.
If you can’t locate the State Employer paperwork, banks and credit unions also keep the EIN on file with firm’s account information.
As a last resort, the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line will provide the number to company officials after asking them several security questions to confirm the identity of the person asking for the information.
Frances is a business writer with over 15 years experience writing about media, technology, retail and related issues for a variety of national and international publications including The New York Times, The Week, USA Today, The Independent, and Lonely Planet News. Follow her on Twitter at @francesk