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What Is an SS-4 Form? | Federal EIN Application

Searching for IRS Form SS-4? Learn everything you need to know about IRS Form SS-4 and how to apply using the online Federal EIN Application.

The SS-4 Form is used to apply for your Federal EIN Number from the government. Businesses, trusts, estates, non-profits and several other organizations need a special number to identify themselves to the government. This number is referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or simply as an EIN, and to obtain this number, you need to submit a Form SS-4 (Application for an Employer Identification Number). To help you out, here's a closer look at this form and answers to some commonly asked questions.

Information about SS-4 Forms and Federal EIN Applications

  1. What Is an IRS Form SS-4?
  2. What Is the SS-4 Form Used for?
  3. Apply for an FEIN Using an SS-4 Form
  4. Register Your FEIN SS-4 Form Online
  5. Register Your FEIN SS-4 Form by Mail or Fax
  6. How Long Does It Take to Complete an SS-4 Form?

1. What Is an IRS Form SS-4?

An IRS Form SS-4 is the official government form you need to complete in order to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). An FEIN is a 9 digit number such as 83-9384746 assigned to most businesses, such as sole proprietors, partnerships, estates of deceased, all types of trusts, corporations and other entities for federal tax filing and reporting purposes. Employers, government agencies, tribal entities and certain individuals can all use this form to apply for their Federal EIN - and can apply via fax, mail or even online.

2. What Is the SS-4 Form Used for?

The SS-4 form is used to apply for an FEIN but there are additional answers to the question, “what is the SS-4 Form used for?”. You may need to use this form if you are trying to perform common business activities which require your EIN number, such as: opening a business bank account, purchasing a business or creating a trust. If your business or other organization is hiring employees, trying to become compliant with IRS withholding regulations, or setting up a pension plan, you also need to obtain an FEIN using this form. In some cases, you may need an FEIN to apply for a loan, and again, you also need to use this form in those situations.

3. Apply for an FEIN Using an SS-4 Form

To apply for an FEIN using an SS-4 form, you need certain details about your organization. In particular, you should have the following information:

  • The name of the business, trust, estate or other entity requesting the FEIN
  • The trade name of your business if it differs from the name supplied above
  • The name of the executor, administrator or owner, as applicable
  • The street and mailing address of your organization
  • The name of the responsible party
  • The Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN) of the responsible party
  • If your organization is a limited liability corporation (LLC), you need the number of members
  • Type of organization, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, personal service corporation, nonprofit organization, estate, etc.
  • For corporations, the location of the incorporation
  • Date the business started
  • Closing month of accounting year
  • Estimated employment tax liability for the upcoming tax year
  • Number of employees broken down by sector (agricultural, household and other)
  • Your industry, such as construction, real estate, manufacturing, finance, health care, accommodations, or other

You also have to note if you've applied for an FEIN in the past, and finally, you need to sign the form. Note that the IRS only allows individuals to apply for one FEIN per day. If you have multiple organizations that need FEINs, you need to spread the process out over several days.

4. Register Your FEIN SS-4 Form Online

Once you fill out your SS-4 form, you can submit it in a variety of ways. The easiest and fastest option is to register your FEIN SS-4 form online. When you submit your form online, you don't have to print off any paperwork. You don't have to search for a pen and painstakingly fill in answers by hand. Instead, you simply enter all the details you need on your computer. You can even enter your signature electronically.

When you register your FEIN SS-4 form online, you also get your FEIN faster. In a lot of cases, you can get your FEIN the very day you submit your application. Then, you can start using your FEIN right away. You can put the number on bank forms. You can use it to fill out employee onboarding paperwork. You can set up a sales tax account with the government. Or, you can use the number in countless other ways.

5. Register Your FEIN SS-4 Form by Mail or Fax

In lieu of registering online, you can register your FEIN SS-4 form by mail or fax. To apply over mail, print out your application, fill in the details, and mail the form to the address specified by the government based on your organization's location. Once the government receives your application, it takes about four weeks to process. In contrast, you can get an FEIN over fax within four business days.

If you decide to fax in your SS-4 form, you can print out the form, fill it out manually, and fax in the paper copy. If your fax machine is embedded in your computer, you may be able to start the process of filling out the form online, but then, you may need to print the form so that you can properly sign it. Finally, you need to scan the form into your computer and fax it to the government. In both cases, you should make sure to note your return fax number. Then, the government can fax your FEIN to you. If you don't provide a return fax number, the government will mail the FEIN to you, which takes longer.

6. How Long Does It Take to Complete an SS-4 Form?

As explained above, you can get your FEIN the same day that you apply online, and you can get your number within four days to four weeks if you apply over fax or through the mail. However, those time frames just include the time it takes to process your application and generate a number. You may still be wondering, how long does it take to complete an SS-4 form.

If you have all the details, you can fill out an SS-4 form in less than 20 minutes. However, depending on your situation, you may need extra time to find the information you need for the form. To be on the safe side, use the list above when gathering your details. Then, to make sure the process is as fast as possible, register your FEIN SS-4 form online and consider working with a professional service.

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