What Is Your Form SS-4?
Your Form SS-4, or “Application for Employer Identification Number,” is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form that corporations use to apply for an employer identification number (EIN).
The EIN is required for federal tax reporting, alongside other business purposes—like applying for a business license or opening a business bank account. It’s essentially what the IRS uses to identify your business. You’ll need to have an EIN if you have employees, operate as a corporation or partnership, or need to obtain accounts, licenses, or business credit cards.
If you’ve been in business for awhile, you probably don’t have a copy of your Form SS-4, or you might not have bothered to keep a copy of the form in your files. If you’ve requested your EIN more recently, you might never have filed a Form SS-4 at all. The IRS now has an online application option that doesn’t require filing a form. Instead, it simply asks you a series of interview-style questions.
Getting a Copy of Your Form SS-4
Regardless of your situation, the IRS won’t actually give you a copy of your Form SS-4. However, they will give you another copy of your EIN assignment letter, which will serve to verify your EIN and satisfy prospective lenders.
Here’s how to get it:
Make sure you know your EIN before you call—you can look it up on your tax returns or corporate documents if you are uncertain. Then call the IRS Business & Specialty Tax Line, (800) 829-4933, which is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday.
The Tax Specialist will ask you to provide some identifying information about your corporation for security purposes—like the company name, the business address, and of course, the EIN.
They’ll also ask for your title within the corporation in order to prove that you’re authorized to receive a copy of the EIN assignment letter. An officer of the corporation or a partner in a partnership would be an example of an authorized person.
Once you’ve met these requirements, the Tax Specialist will make arrangements to send you a copy of your business’s EIN assignment letter by mail or by fax. Keep in mind that they’ll send it to the official address on file for the corporation, so if you want it sent elsewhere—so you can receive it faster to submit it for the loan application, for example—you’ll need to provide an alternate address to the Tax Specialist.