Sunday, 12 August 2012

How to Acquire an EIN

An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is essentially the equivalent of an ABN (Australian Business Number) in Australia. Basically it just allows our LLC to be recognised with the IRS in America. Because we used an LLC to purchase a property, it meant we required an EIN. If we had purchased as an individual, we would either require a SSN (Social Security Number), which is not possible as neither of us are American citizens, so we would have required an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number). I remember reading initially that to obtain an EIN; it was required of at least one member of the LLC to obtain an ITIN first. I can tell you now that this is not true, as we were able to acquire an EIN with neither of us having an ITIN.

To obtain an EIN, we used the same company that we set up our LLC with, INCORP. Dealing with Incorp allows you to be assigned your personal company representative, who we were able to contact to help us get out EIN. When setting up an LLC with Incorp, you can opt for a package deal where you set up the LLC and get an EIN, but we thought we could set up the EIN ourselves and thought we would try and save some money. We were told by our personal representative from Incorp that if we had an SSN or ITIN, then we should be able to get an EIN within 24 hours of applying, but due to not having either of these numbers; the process would take a lot longer. In the end it took about 3 weeks before we were assigned an EIN. The cost to us was $69 (US Dollars) by going through Incorp. As I said before, it is possible to obtain the EIN by doing it yourself and free.

You are also able to apply for an EIN online, similar to obtaining an ABN, but again, without an SSN or ITIN you are unable to use this service, and have to follow one of the other methods on this website - How to Apply for an EIN. Essentially you are required to fill out Form SS-4 and submit it to the IRS.

So overall acquiring an EIN for us was not very involved as we simply went through a company, but if you are doing it yourself you may find it slightly more challenging, unless of course you have an ITIN or SSN, then applying online should be relatively easy.

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