If you plan to hire employees for your business, you will need to get a federal tax ID number (also known as an Employer Identification Number). Even if you are a sole proprietor, you may still need a federal tax ID number if you fall into one of the categories for which the IRS requires one. To get one of these numbers, it used to be necessary to fill out and submit Form SS-4 through snail mail, but now you can apply for and receive your federal tax ID number online in less than 15 minutes by visiting the IRS official EIN Assistant.
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Plan to complete the entire application in a single sitting. If you remain inactive for more than 15 minutes, the online assistant will reset, and none of your information will be saved. Likewise, if your system happens to crash during the process, you will have to start over. As soon
as you finish the application and submit it, you will receive your number. The IRS will mail a hard copy to you, but you should request an additional confirmation letter so that you have proof that you have applied for your federal tax ID number. The confirmation letter will arrive in a PDF format, so you will also need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader or another pdf reader, if you do not already have one.
If you would prefer not to apply for your federal tax ID number online, you can always pick up an SS-4 form from your courthouse or the IRS. You can also download the form from the IRS website, print it, fill it out and mail it to the IRS. You can expect to receive your federal tax number within 10 to 14 business days.