How To Complete Form SS-4

Application for Employer Identification Number

All Fields Required

Form SS-4 Definition

Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, is self-explanatory. Businesses use this form to apply for an employer identification number (EIN).

An EIN is assigned to employers, corporations, partnerships, sole proprietors, trusts, estates, and certain types of individuals. It’s primarily used for tax filing and reporting purposes.

Completing Form SS-4

The IRS shares Form SS-4 on its website, along with instructions on how to fill it out.

In addition to basic information, such as the legal name of the entity and responsible party, you’ll also include:

  • Type of entity
  • If a corporation, state or foreign country where incorporated
  • Reason for applying
  • The date the business was started or acquired
  • Closing month of accounting year
  • Highest number of employees expected over the next 12 months
  • First date wages were paid
  • Principal activity of your business
  • If you’ve ever applied for or received an EIN for the business

Note: the second page of the form includes a table to help you decide if you need an EIN.

How to Apply for an EIN

There are four distinct ways to apply for an EIN. It’s important to only use one method per entity, as you don’t want to be assigned multiple EIN’s.

  • Apply for an EIN online
  • Apply by telephone – this is reserved for international applicants
  • Apply by fax
  • Apply by mail

For the majority of companies, applying for an EIN online is most efficient. You qualify if you have a legal residence, principal place of business, or principal office in the United States.

If you have any questions about filing Form SS-4, consult with your tax professional or contact the IRS directly. Once you secure an EIN, share it with your payroll provider to ensure that it’s used in the appropriate manner.