The best way to find a Federal ID or employee identification number is to "follow the money". EINs were created to track the flow of funds, especially income. By looking at official filing documents that use the numbers to track funds, it is easy to find the information. There are many reasons for needing to look up an EIN. You may have just joined a nonprofit board and are asked for the number by a vendor. Perhaps you are freelancing for a new company and need the number for a project resource. If you are a principal in several companies yourself, you may have lost track of one or more EINs.
Follow the money to find another company's EIN
Locate the company's tax number from your 1099 or W2. If you are an employee or vendor of the company whose EIN you are trying to find, look at the tax document you received from them. The EIN is in the B part of the W2 and is also on the 1099. If you work with the company regularly, call their treasurer, comptroller, payroll department or accountant. As long as you can identify yourself or get a company member to do so, you should be able to obtain the number. If you received a purchase order from the company, the EIN will be on the purchase order.
Call a non-profit organization's accountant, treasurer or bank to get the organization's EIN. Not-for-profit groups need a tax ID number to avoid paying tax on items bought for the organization's projects.
Check SEC filings of public companies to find their EINs. The EIN can be located on the first page of 10-Ks, 20-Fs and other SEC filings. The documents can be located free of charge via the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR database.
Try the GuideStar service. GuideStar is a nonprofit organization with a database of Form 990s, which provide a nonprofit organization's financial information.
Use an Internet-based search service if all else fails. These services are created for businesses that routinely need to look up EINs, but can be used on a less-frequent basis by small businesses and freelancers. One such business is Feinsearch.com, which provides more than 12 million searchable EINs and Tax ID searches.
Ways to find your own EIN
Search your tax filing records for your own EIN. Your EIN will be on your annual tax filings. Your accountant will also have a copy of your tax filings if you do not. Your bank will also have the EIN number information.
Search your other tax-related documents such as vendor 1099s. The IRS sent you a computer generated receipt when you requested the EIN. Check to see if that data is with your company formation papers. Also look up vendor 1099s you have issued.
Call the Internal Revernue Service Business and Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933. Help is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. You will need to identify yourself as one of the following: a sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, a corporate officer, a trustee of a trust or an executor of an estate.
You may experience wait times when calling the IRS or using government databases.
Be sure to check that the company has not changed their name when using databases.
- tax forms image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com