Every exempt organization must have an EIN, whether or not it has any employees. An EIN is required before an exemption application is submitted.
Also known as the Tax Identification Number (TIN), Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or the Federal Tax Identification Number, the EIN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to business entities operating in the United States for the purposes of identification. When the number is used for identification rather than employment tax reporting, it is usually referred to as a TIN, and when used for the purposes of reporting employment taxes, it is usually referred to as an EIN.
The issuance of an EIN to a non-profit organization is separate and distinct from the organization’s actually obtaining tax-exempt status from the IRS. Each chapter of a national non-profit organization must have its own EIN, but the central organization may file for a group tax exemption. Before donating monies to a charity, it is alwaysadvisable to verify its proper registration and IRS Form 990 tax-exempt status.
An EIN is usually written in the form 00-0000000 whereas a Social Security Number is usually written in the form 000-00-0000 in order to differentiate between the two.
EINs do not expire. Once an EIN has been issued to an entity, it will not be reissued.
An EIN may be applied for:
- Online—Click on the Employer ID Numbers (EINs) link at http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/. The EIN is issued immediately once the application information is validated.
- By telephone at 1-800-829-4933 from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the organization’s local time zone.
- By mailing or faxing Form SS-4.
Use only one method for each entity so you do not receive more than one EIN for an entity.
If you previously applied for an EIN and have not yet received it, or you are unsure whether you have an EIN, please call our toll-free customer account services number, 1-877-829-5500, for assistance.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.