Educational institutions like colleges and universities must have a tax identification number (TIN) for tax reporting purposes, even if they are non-profit institutions. The TIN, or Employer Identification Number (EIN), can be found through a variety of resources, depending upon whether an institution is publicly traded, a for-profit university; a private, for-profit university; or a non-profit. Which search technique you use will depend upon this information, but if you are unsure, you can search using all three methods.

Step 1.

Call the accounting or payroll department of the institution and ask for its Employer Identification Number (EIN). This number is listed on W2s and other tax documentation. An EIN is another name for the institution's TIN.

Step 2.

Find out if your institution is a public, private or non-profit institution. This information is usually on the institution's website.

Step 3.

Navigate to one of the listed resources: for non profit institutions, go to the Guidestar website and look up your institution's 440; for publicly traded institutions, go to the Electronic Data Gathering and Retrieval (EDGAR) database and look up one of their Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings (The EIN is usually listed on the front page of these documents.); and for privately owned companies, use one of the for-fee services, Lexis, FEINSearch, or KnowX.

Tip

Check out your public library before paying for a fee-based service. Many public libraries have access to EIN search databases.