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California EIN Numbers What You Need to Know

Nearly Every Business In California Is Required To Apply For An EIN Number In Order To Hire Employees, Pay Taxes, And More

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How To Find EIN Numbers In California 

The easiest way to find your company’s EIN number is to locate a previously filed tax return for your business entity. All tax returns filed under your business name will contain your EIN.

Some EINs are considered public record, so the EIN business search is accessible through the California Secretary of State. 

Because private companies aren’t required to give out their EINs, however, EIN lookup services are the easiest way to find the EINs of private companies. 

What Is An EIN Number? 

The employee identification number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit federal tax ID number that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), part of the Treasury Department of the US federal government, allocates to businesses operating within the United States for identification purposes. 

Most types of business entities require EINs to legally pay and hire employees, open a business bank account, and take out a business credit card (trust banking). The IRS also requires this nine-digit number for you to file employment and excise tax returns. 

EIN numbers are also known as: 

  • Tax ID Numbers 
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) 
  • Federal Tax Identification Number 
  • Employer ID Numbers 
  • Business Tax Numbers 

How Do EIN Numbers Work In California? 

EIN numbers for California businesses work much like EINs in the rest of the United States and are used primarily for tax purposes. Specifically, you’ll need an EIN number for the following reasons in California: 

  • Hire employees 
  • Submit income tax withholdings 
  • File unemployment taxes 
  • File tax returns at the state and federal level 
  • Open a bank account 
  • Apply for a Business License or Permit 

Who Needs An EIN In California? 

Most types of businesses in California, from a small business to a large corporation, are required by law to have EIN numbers. These include: 

  • Corporations
  • Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) 
  • Sole Proprietorships
  • Charities and Nonprofits (if they have employees)    

Businesses are also required to have an EIN if they: 

  • File employment taxes
  • File fiduciary, alcohol, tobacco, or firearms taxes 
  • Have one or more employees
  • Employ household employees, such as domestic workers 

Businesses that don’t require an EIN: 

  • Sole Proprietorship with no employees 
  • LLC with no employees 

If you are one of the above businesses, you don’t need an EIN and instead can use a personal social security number (SSN). In California, the Employment Development Department (EDD) helps businesses by administering unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and paid family leave programs. 

A new business that isn’t a single-member LLC or sole proprietor, or has changed the business structure to become an incorporation or hire additional employees, will need to apply for a new EIN number. 

 

Do I Need An EIN To Apply For A Business License In California? 

Municipalities in California distribute business licenses, so whether or not you need an EIN for a business is dependent on where your business is located. It will also depend on what type of business you have and what type of permit you need.

When applying for a business license in California, you’ll need an EIN (unless you fit the exceptions above), additional contact information, a business type and structure, total number of employees, and projected annual sales. 

To apply for a business license, visit the California Department Of Tax And Fee Administration (CDTFA). 

How To Apply For An EIN Number In California 

The easiest and most secure way to apply for an EIN number in California is through the IRS Online Services Portal. Alternatively, you can apply via fax, postal mail, or telephone. 

To apply, you must complete the mandatory Form SS-4. This form should contain details about your legal company name, mailing address, type of business, and reason for applying. 

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