You may be somewhat surprised if you have received an EIN and did not request it. However, there is no need to panic, as there is more than likely a reasonable explanation. 

Below, we’ll look into how you may be in this situation and what to do if it happens to you. 

Why you may receive an EIN you didn’t request

Unfortunately, there are several reasons why you may get assigned an EIN unexpectedly or in error. These are the most common reasons: 

  • Identity theft: Criminals may use stolen personal information to fraudulently obtain an EIN in someone else’s name to commit tax fraud or other financial crimes. This can happen to both individuals and businesses.
  • Administrative errors: The IRS may accidentally issue an EIN to the wrong entity due to clerical mistakes or mix-ups in their records. This is less common but can occur.
  • Inherited businesses: When someone inherits a business, they may receive the existing EIN associated with that company, even if they didn’t personally apply for it.
  • Mergers and acquisitions: When businesses merge or are acquired, the new entity may receive the EIN of one of the original companies.
  • Restructuring: A new EIN may be issued if a business changes its legal structure, such as a sole proprietorship becoming a partnership.
  • Third-party requests: Someone authorized may have requested an EIN on your behalf, unbeknownst to you. 

If you receive an EIN that you did not request, it’s important to contact the IRS immediately to report the issue and prevent potential misuse. The IRS has procedures to resolve these situations and protect taxpayers from harm.

Steps to Take If You Receive an Unrequested EIN

If you receive an EIN that you did not request, it’s important to contact the IRS immediately to report the issue and prevent potential misuse. The IRS has procedures to resolve these situations and protect taxpayers from harm.

Verify the Authenticity of the EIN

When you get an EIN you didn’t apply for, the first thing you have to do is verify that it’s an authentic number or if there is a risk of the assignment causing identity theft. Start by verifying that you or anyone else with your knowledge did not apply for an EIN.

Check your personal and business records to ensure that you did not apply for an EIN recently. Ensure that the EIN details match your business information, including your name, address, and entity type. Verify that the EIN is not associated with any other business or entity to ensure authenticity. 

If you’re unable to verify the EIN, or if it’s verified against unfamiliar information, then it may be a case of identity theft. In this case, report it to the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can also contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance.

Contacting the IRS

Reach out to the IRS immediately to report the unexpected EIN and inquire about the reason for its assignment. Call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at 1-800-829-4933 or visit the IRS website for more information and assistance. They will be able to provide adequate insight into the next steps to be taken or explain why you received an EIN. 

Protecting Your Identity

Safeguarding personal and business information is crucial to preventing identity theft or fraud. You must protect your usernames, passwords, and PINs by keeping them private and regularly changing them to ensure your computer and accounts are secure by installing a personal firewall and security software and configuring your security settings to receive automatic updates. 

Use wireless connections wisely by encrypting your connection at home, shutting off wireless connectivity when unattended, and disabling wireless ad hoc mode and file and printer sharing capabilities. You should also avoid responding to emails asking for personal information and keep your Social Security number private at all times. Also, take care when downloading files or clicking links. Finally, remain aware of current fraud and identity theft trends to avoid potential threats.

Resolving the Issue

Correcting Errors with the IRS

If you need to report an erroneous EIN assignment, you should provide the following information to the IRS if possible:

  • Current EIN: Provide the incorrect EIN that was assigned to your business.
  • Correct EIN: Provide the correct EIN that you use for your business. If you do not run a business, then ensure you explain this to the IRS.
  • Business Information: Provide your business name, address, and any other relevant details to help the IRS identify your business. If you’re not involved in any business, you may need to provide more personal information for the IRS to work out what’s going on.
  • Details of When You Noticed the Error: Explain when you noticed an error and under which circumstances you found out. 
  • Supporting Documents: Provide any supporting documents that can help verify your information and the error, such as proof of business registration, proof of ID, or articles of incorporation.

This will help you get to the bottom of the issue far quicker.

Updating Business Records

Keeping accurate records helps businesses stay compliant with state and federal regulations and industry standards. Inaccurate records can lead to penalties, audits, or legal issues. Detailed documentation also provides evidence to protect the company in disputes or lawsuits.

Maintaining an audit trail and regularly reviewing records also helps detect discrepancies or fraudulent activity. Proper documentation of financial transactions and business activities is essential for internal controls and accountability.


Although receiving an EIN in error is not common, it certainly can happen, which is why it’s so important to ensure that your records remain up-to-date and you keep your personal information safe. This will help to protect you against criminal activity like fraud and identity theft. 

Always ask for help from the IRS if you suspect something is wrong and you feel as though your information has been compromised.