When you sign up for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a federal tax ID number, the government makes a real point to remind you to never misplace your number. Let's be totally real, though. Some of us are pretty forgetful regardless of how successful our budding businesses may be. Losing your EIN number and the IRS confirmation happens. Don't worry – it's not gone forever.
Why Do I Need An EIN?
An Employer Identification Number is like a Social Security number for a business. You'll need your EIN to file taxes, apply for business licenses, open business bank accounts, obtain loans and new lines of credit and fill out various forms such as 1099-MISCs for contracting work. If you're working as a sole proprietor, you may wish to register for a federal tax ID number to avoid using your Social Security number for business purposes.
Sometimes, a bank or vendor may require a confirmation of your EIN from the IRS. Before you get nervous and start tearing apart your office looking for that pesky letter, don't worry. You can easily request a new confirmation letter instead.
Call The IRS And Request A Replacement Confirmation Letter
Getting a replacement confirmation letter for your Tax ID Number is as simple as calling up the IRS. Dial (800) 829-4933 if you're in the U.S. and (267) 941-1099 if you're abroad. Ask the IRS for a replacement 147C letter – that's what the letter is called. If you remember your EIN number, you can have the form faxed directly to you. If you don't remember your number, you'll have to wait for the letter to be sent by mail because the IRS will not give you the number over the phone.
Be Prepared To Answer Questions About Your Business
The IRS can't just give out EIN information to anyone. They can only send a 147C letter to an authorized individual like a corporate officer or partner. In order to confirm that you're authorized to get the form, you're going to need to answer some questions including telling the IRS your title in the business.
What Happens If I Lost My EIN Number?
If you don't need your confirmation letter and simply lost your EIN number, you can avoid calling the IRS by digging a bit into your company's records. Your EIN can be found on an old tax return. If you've set up a business account with a bank or applied for a license, you can call the bank or agency to get your EIN. If all else fails, call the IRS.
Mariel Loveland is a small business owner, content strategist and writer from New Jersey. Throughout her career, she's worked with numerous startups creating content to help small business owners bridge the gap between technology and sales. Her work has been featured in publications like Business Insider and Vice.