What is a Federal Tax ID
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What is a Federal Tax ID?
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What is a Federal Tax ID?

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A Federal Tax Identification Number, also know as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), is used by the US IRS to identify a business entity. A FEIN is like a Social Security Number for your company. All businesses operating as Corporations or Partnerships are required to have an FEIN.

A Federal Employer Tax Identification Number (FEIN) is a nine digit code (in the form of 00-0000000) used by businesses in order to classify and identify them as tax payers.  The FEIN is also used for banking services and other legal purposes.  A FEIN can be used by Partnerships, Sole Proprietors, Nonprofit Organizations, Trusts, Corporations, LLCs, Estates, Government Agencies and other business entities.

Businesses with no employees or a Sole Proprietorship may use their Social Security number for tax reporting.  Companies with employees must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).  If a person owns multiple businesses, a different FEIN is required for each separate business.  A Federal Employer Identification Number is unique to a business just like Social Security number is unique to an individual taxpayer.

The following is from the US IRS web site:

Generally, businesses need a new EIN when their ownership or structure has changed. Although changing the name of your business does not require you to obtain a new EIN, you may wish to visit the Business Name Change page to find out what actions are required if you change the name of your business. The information below provides answers to frequently asked questions about changing your EIN.

Sole Proprietors

You will be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • You are subject to a bankruptcy proceeding.
  • You incorporate.
  • You take in partners and operate as a partnership.
  • You purchase or inherit an existing business that you operate as a sole proprietorship.

You will not be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • You change the name of your business.
  • You change your location and/or add other locations.
  • You operate multiple businesses.

Corporations

You will be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • A corporation receives a new charter from the secretary of state.
  • You are a subsidiary of a corporation using the parent's EIN or you become a subsidiary of a corporation.
  • You change to a partnership or a sole proprietorship.
  • A new corporation is created after a statutory merger.

You will not be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • You are a division of a corporation.
  • The surviving corporation uses the existing EIN after a corporate merger.
  • A corporation declares bankruptcy.
  • The corporate name or location changes.
  • A corporation chooses to be taxed as an S corporation.
  • Reorganization of a corporation changes only the identity or place.
  • Conversion at the state level with business structure remaining unchanged.

Partnerships

You will be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • You incorporate.
  • Your partnership is taken over by one of the partners and is operated as a sole proprietorship.
  • You end an old partnership and begin a new one.

You will not be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • The partnership declares bankruptcy.
  • The partnership name changes.
  • You change the location of the partnership or add other locations.
  • A new partnership is formed as a result of the termination of a partnership under IRC section 708(b)(1)(B).
  • 50 percent or more of the ownership of the partnership (measured by interests in capital and profits) changes hands within a twelve-month period (terminated partnerships under Reg. 301.6109-1).

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is an entity created by state statute. The IRS did not create a new tax classification for the LLC when it was created by the states; instead IRS uses the tax entity classifications it has always had for business taxpayers: corporation, partnership, or disregarded as an entity separate from its owner, referred to as a “disregarded entity.” An LLC is always classified by the IRS as one of these types of taxable entities. If a “disregarded entity” is owned by an individual, it is treated as a sole proprietor. If the “disregarded entity” is owned any any other entity, it is treated as a branch or division of its owner.

Changes affecting Single Member LLCs with Employees

For wages paid on or after January 1, 2009, single member/single owner LLCs that have not elected to be treated as corporations may be required to change the way they report and pay federal employment taxes and wage payments and certain federal excise taxes. On Aug. 16, 2007, changes to Treasury Regulation Section 301.7701-2 were issued. The new regulations state that the LLC, not its single owner, will be responsible for filing and paying all employment taxes on wages paid on or after January 1, 2009. These regulations also state that for certain excise taxes, the LLC, not its single owner, will be responsible for liabilities imposed and actions first required or permitted in periods beginning on or after January 1, 2008.

If a single member LLC has been filing and paying employment taxes under the name and EIN of the owner, and no EIN was previously assigned to the LLC, a new EIN will be required for wages paid on or after January 1, 2009. If a single member LLC has been filing and paying excise taxes under the name and EIN of the owner and no EIN was previously assigned to the LLC, a new EIN will be required for certain excise tax liabilities imposed and actions first required or permitted in periods beginning on or after January 1, 2008. The following examples may assist in determining if a new EIN is required:

  • If the primary name on the account is John Doe, a new EIN will be required.
  • If the primary name on the account is John Doe and the second name line is Doe Plumbing (which was organized as an LLC under state law), a new EIN is required.
  • If the primary name on the account is Doe Plumbing LLC, a new EIN will not be required.

You will be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • A new LLC with more than one owner (Multi-member LLC) is formed under state law.
  • A new LLC with one owner (Single Member LLC) is formed under state law and chooses to be taxed as a corporation or an S corporation.
  • A new LLC with one owner (Single Member LLC) is formed under state law, and has an excise tax filing requirement for tax periods beginning on or after January 1, 2008 or an employment tax filing requirement for wages paid on or after January 1, 2009.

You will not be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • You report income tax as a branch or division of a corporation or other entity, and the LLC has no employees or excise tax liability.
  • An existing partnership converts to an LLC classified as a partnership.
  • The LLC name or location changes.
  • An LLC that already has an EIN chooses to be taxed as a corporation or as an S corporation.
  • A new LLC with one owner (single member LLC) is formed under state law, does not choose to be taxed as a corporation or S corporation, and has no employees or excise tax liability. NOTE: You may request an EIN for banking or state tax purposes, but an EIN is not required for federal tax purposes.

Estates

You will be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • A trust is created with funds from the estate (not simply a continuation of the estate).
  • You represent an estate that operates a business after the owner's death.

You will not be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statement is true.

  • The administrator, personal representative, or executor changes his/her name or address.

Trusts

You will be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • One person is the grantor/maker of many trusts.
  • A trust changes to an estate.
  • A living or intervivos trust changes to a testamentary trust.
  • A living trust terminates by distributing its property to a residual trust.

You will not be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • The trustee changes.
  • The grantor or beneficiary changes his/her name or address.

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