As a business owner or someone in charge of employing people, there will be a time when you’ll be asked to present your Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is the piece of information kept on record by the IRS and helps them to keep track of information like tax reporting, the nature of your business, and tax rebates owed to a business. 

Performing an EIN number lookup is easy if you have already been issued one. However, if you have not yet received an EIN, the application process is also very easy and can be retrieved immediately by filling out the necessary online form. 

What is an employer identification number (EIN)?

An EIN is an identification number that helps the IRS keep track of all tax-related affairs associated with your business. It not only tells the IRS how much and to whom your business should be paying tax but also allows them to keep track of any rebates you and your business may be entitled to. 

It’s also useful for business owners who work for themselves to keep track of personal and business expenses separately. The EIN is therefore useful for making sure business and personal spending do not overlap and helps to keep your business finances organized. 

An EIN is similar to a social security number. The difference is that an EIN is logged in a system that identifies businesses whereas social security numbers identify individuals. To find out what your EIN is, there are several ways you can do an EIN number lookup. In this post, we’ll take you through the different ways you can do an EIN number lookup when you need to confirm yours for whatever reason. 

How to lookup an EIN number: Step-by-step

Looking up an EIN is a simple process. Whether you are performing an EIN lookup for your own company or for another one, the easiest way to look up an EIN is to follow these simple few steps: 

  1. Look at previously filed tax returns. The EIN you are looking for should appear on the documents previously submitted to the IRS. 
  2. Call the IRS. If you are looking for your own EIN, you can call the IRS at (800) 829-4933 and provide the operator with the relevant information. They will provide you with your EIN once they have captured the necessary information. 
  3. For your own EIN, you can also get in touch with your bank, as they will have to have this information on record in order to deal with you in a business capacity. 
  4. Use an EIN lookup service. If you need to track down your own IEN or an EIN for another company, you can use an EIN lookup service like Our database allows us to track down the relevant EIN based on some basic company information. 

How can I get an EIN?

Getting hold of your EIN depends on whether or not you have already been issued one by the IRS. If you have already applied for and received an EIN, then the EIN number lookup process is usually relatively simple. However, if you have not received an EIN, you will have to apply for one, which you can do via phone, fax, or online. 

If you have received an EIN in the past, but simply need to conduct an EIN lookup, you can contact the IRS directly, or confirm with your business’ banking service provider. Most banking documents will also have your EIN on them for filing purposes. Your first port of call when looking for your EIN should therefore be your banking documents. 

Applying for an EIN is a very easy process and you can do it online or by mailing or faxing an SS4 form to the IRS with all the relevant information filled in. For mail applications, you will have to send your completed SS4 form to Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999. Applications submitted via mail will typically take between 3 and 4 weeks to be processed. 

The IRS also accepts applications via fax. To submit an EIN application using this method, simply fill out an SS4 form completely and correctly and fax it to (855) 641-6935. 

If you are not a US citizen and require an EIN, that’s no problem. You are allowed an EIN even if you are a citizen of another country. For non-US citizen applications, you can contact the IRS directly at (267) 941-1099. To apply via fax, send a completed SS4 form to (855) 215-1627 when applying within the US or to (304) 707-9471 if you are applying from an international location. 

International citizens can also send their completed SS-4 forms via mail to Revenue Service, Attn: EIN International Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999. Again, this should only be done if there is no urgent requirement for an EIN as this is the slowest method for applying for your EIN. 

Does my business need an EIN?

Although there are many benefits to having an EIN, it is not always necessary for every business. According to the IRS, several criteria make it compulsory to have an EIN. If one of the following points apply to you, you will need to get an EIN as soon as possible. 

  • You classify your business as a corporation
  • You are part owner of the business regarded as a partnership
  • You have employees, even if it’s only one
  • You are planning on filing excise taxes 
  • You do not pay tax on non-wage income that you pay to non-US citizens 
  • Your business is involved in other organizations or portfolios including trusts, non-profit organizations, real estate mortgage investment conduits, plan administrations, or farmer’s cooperatives. 

Even if none of these points apply to you, it is still beneficial to have an EIN. If you work for yourself or own a sole proprietorship, having an EIN will give your clients peace of mind when you deal with them. It shows them that you are a serious business and that you are not simply providing a service or product as a mere side hustle. 

You may also be asked to present your EIN to clients who will need to file their own tax claims or who are undergoing an accounts audit. 

Your business will also require an EIN if you have to apply for certain licenses to safely and legally carry out your work. When you have an EIN, the relevant licenses are registered under it, which demonstrates professionalism to your clients and business partners. 

How do I find my business’s EIN?

Once you have completed the application process and obtained your EIN, it’s essential that you keep the number in a safe place. However, since this is not used as often as something like a Social Security Number or driving license, it can be easily misplaced. 

In most cases, you will be able to find your own EIN without much hassle, however, it does require you to possibly sift through documents and spend the time you may not have. EINs usually appear on business banking documents as a means of keeping track of your business finances for tax purposes. 

When you have received your EIN, you should have also received an Employer Identification Number confirmation letter. If you have this to hand, your EIN will also appear on this document. 

If you have the time to spare, you will also be able to get hold of your EIN by contacting the IRS directly where they will assist you in completing a federal tax ID lookup.

At EINSearch we have a database of over 20 million EINs as well as a direct line of contact with the International Revenue Service. Our service makes it quick and easy to track down your own EIN if you have already applied for one and simply misplaced it. All the EINs in our system are validated and checked regularly to ensure we provide up-to-date and accurate information to our users. 

Why using our EIN lookup service can aid your business

Filing for taxes is a time-consuming process in itself, and a misplaced EIN can be a frustrating hurdle to overcome. But it doesn’t have to be. Using an EIN lookup service is a very quick and easy way to locate your own business’ EIN or another business’ EIN should you need to verify contractors or other service providers. There are several benefits to using this service as opposed to locating your EIN yourself. Some of the key ways in which our service can aid your business are listed here. 

Saves time and staffing resources 

If you have struggled to locate your EIN, taking the time yourself or appointing an employee to spend time sifting through banking and legal documents is not only a slog but also uses company resources and time that could be spent on other income-generating activities. When you appoint a company like EINsearch to locate an EIN, you save your company time, and business to carry on as usual. 

Reduces the risks of fraudulent activity

If your business deals with contractors or third-party service providers, validating their EIN is a good way to practice due diligence. Knowing a company’s EIN helps to prevent fraud and gives you peace of mind that the service you receive is provided by licensed businesses. EINs also help in the prevention of other fraudulent activities such as identity theft. 

Ensures you’re compliant with federal laws

EINs are the IRS’ way of making sure businesses are tax compliant. They are also often used to authenticate businesses and are the preferred points of reference for business compliance programs. Having correct and accurate EINs on hand will help ensure you remain compliant & avoid unnecessary fines & penalties.

EIN authentication is important for any business, whether it’s your own EIN or another company’s. If your business deals with many vendors or service providers, your accounting team or finance department may need their EINs to ensure the company is keeping in line with the legal and tax requirements laid out by the IRS. 

Obtaining their EIN is also an integral part of validating them and ensuring they have the correct qualifications to carry out any work safely and legally. An EIN number lookup service can also be used to validate new customers’ information for compliance purposes. 


Does an EIN ever change?

Your EIN is not meant to change as it is supposed to identify a business for as long as they are in operation. However, an EIN may have to change if your business changes ownership, the business is integrated or your business buys another. 

Can I look up another business’ EIN? 

You can look up another business’ EIN. Some companies need other businesses’ EINs to verify customers or suppliers. The best way to do this is to use an EIN lookup service like EINsearch.

Will my EIN expire if I don’t use it for a while? 

Your EIN will never expire even if you have not used it in a while. Your EIN is your business for life and will even remain so in the event of your company dissolving or closing. 

How long does it take to get an EIN? 

The length of time it takes to get your EIN depends on the application method you choose to take. Applying online via the IRS website is the quickest way to get your EIN as it is issued immediately. Other methods such as fax and mail take a lot longer, with postage applications taking longer than 4 weeks in most cases. 

My business closed. Can I cancel my EIN? 

If your business is no longer in operation, you can simply write to the IRS informing them. If you have filed a tax return in the past, you will need to file a final one before closing your business account with the IRS. 

When should I consider getting an EIN? 

If your business takes on employees, this is when you legally need to have an EIN. However, having an EIN even when working alone is massively beneficial, and you should consider getting an EIN as soon as you open your business. 

Do I need an EIN if I work for myself? 

When you work with clients, it’s advisable to have an EIN as they may ask you to provide it for their accounting purposes, especially if you operate in the B2B space. It will also help you keep your personal and business expenses separate. However, it is not absolutely essential to have an EIN if you work for yourself.