An EIN is a business' federal employer identification number. This nine-digit number is assigned by the IRS for tax filing and reporting purposes and is used to identify the taxpayer. Corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies are all required to obtain an EIN. Sole proprietors don't typically require an EIN and they can be identified by their Social Security numbers instead.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
You can search for EIN number for nonprofits on sites like Guidestar; check Investor Relations for publicly traded companies; or commercial databases for other organizations.
Purpose of an EIN
All businesses need an Employer Identification Number, including nonprofits. EINs work just like individual Social Security numbers and are formatted like this: 12-3456789. An EIN is issued free of charge by the IRS and is used for all the organization's legal activities, such as hiring employees, opening a bank account, applying for business licenses and filing tax forms.
Search for a Company by EIN
Because nonprofit companies must open their records to the public, a search for these companies can be conducted at no cost. For-profit companies, on the other hand, may be public or private. Private companies are not required to open their records to public scrutiny, which means an EIN search for a for-profit company may come with a fee or be inaccessible. There are websites where you can search for nonprofits using the EIN number, such as Guidestar, which has access to 1.5 million nonprofits nationwide.
If the company you're researching is for-profit and publicly traded, go to the company's Investor Relations web page. The majority of publicly traded companies have a Filings page where you should be able to find the company's EIN number. If the business in question doesn't have a Filings page, use the Security and Exchange Commission's EDGAR online database. If the business does not post its SEC filings online, this is a free way to look up an EIN. All publicly traded companies will be in this database.
Use a Commercial Database
If you need to look up EIN numbers on a regular basis, consider subscribing to an online commercial database. These sites sometimes have special offers that allow you to make a few searches for free before you sign up for the service. EIN Finder is one such database with various subscription options. You can sign up for a personal subscription or get a corporate subscription that offers unlimited searches. You can also license the entire database, if necessary. FEIN Search is another site for access to a variety of corporations. On this site, you get five free searches before you are charged a fee.
- Nolo: When Does a Sole Proprietor Need an EIN?
- SBA: How do I find an EIN?
- IRS: How Can I Look Up a Tax ID for a Business?
- EIN Finder: Home
- Melissa Data: Nonprofit Lookup
- FEIN Search
- IRS: Topic Number 755 - Employer Identification Number (EIN) – How to Apply
- Investopedia: Employer Identification Number - EIN
- GuideStar: Home
Heather Skyler is a business journalist and editor who has written for wide variety of publications, including Newsweek.com, The New York Times and Delta's SKY magazine. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Miami University and a master's degree in writing from the University of Washington in Seattle. Before writing for a variety of publications, she taught business writing in Seattle.