What Is The Difference Between A TIN And An EIN?

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TIN stands for “Taxpayer Identification Number”, and EIN stands for “Employer Identification Number”, but these both refer to the same thing: a 9 digit number assigned by the IRS to identify a new entity, either a business entity such as an LLC or Corporation, or entities like a Trust or an Estate of a Deceased Individual. This is not straightforward or intuitive, but you do NOT need to have or plan to have employees to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number). This is just a general term to refer to a Tax ID Number for an entity. But, there are also OTHER types of “TIN”/Tax ID Numbers…that are different from a basic TIN or EIN. These are explained below, such as an ITIN, which is an “Individual Taxpayer ID Number” but this is only for people who do not have an SSN.

Other acronyms to refer to this same number assigned by the IRS are FEIN (Federal EIN, Federal Employer Id Number), or simply known as a Tax ID Number, or Tax ID. Simply, these all refer to the same thing, the 9 digit number, in the format of 12-3456789, that is assigned by the IRS to new entities and is used by the IRS to identify businesses and individuals for tax purposes.  The TIN/EIN needs to be on any documents sent to the IRS, such as tax returns.

The Internal Revenue Service uses the TIN/EIN to recognize and identify a business. Just like a Social Security Number (SSN) is used to identify an individual citizen of the United States of America. Most entity types require a separate tax return to be filed for the entity.

How to Obtain an EIN Number:

There are 2 ways to apply for an EIN. The easiest one is to apply for an EIN online, which is a simple process. You will need to have this number if you are starting a new business or hiring new employees. The first step is select the entity type you are applying for: A Sole Proprietorship, an LLC (Limited Liability Company) tax ID, Partnership, S-Corporation, Corporation, Non-Profit Organization, Trust tax ID, Estate of Deceased Individual, Personal Service Corp (a specific type of Corporation), or a Church Organization.

Select Your Entity Type to Apply for a Federal Tax ID Today

The other way to apply for a TIN (or EIN) from the IRS, is to fill out the IRS SS-4 Form, and submit it to the IRS by mail or by fax. Submitting by mail will take the IRS 2-4 weeks to process. Submitting the SS4 form by fax can take 4 to 10 days, so it is much quicker. You must  include your fax number on the SS-4 form so that the IRS can fax you back your completed SS4 with the EIN.

Other Types of TINs (Tax ID Numbers): ITIN, ATIN, PTIN

A TIN is a broad umbrella term that refers to a nine-digit number assigned by the federal government to individuals and businesses to identify them for tax purposes. There are actually five types of TINs. They include EINs, as well as Social Security Numbers (SSNs), Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), Taxpayer Identification Numbers for Pending U.S. Adoptions (ATINs) and Preparer Taxpayer Identification Numbers (PTINs). There are also State level Tax ID Numbers, which vary from state to state, and require a separate filing with your individual state you are located in or the state you form your business in. Each of these can be obtained by filling out the proper form for each corresponding TIN. IRS EIN Filing Service only processes applications for a general TIN, or EIN.

So, What About the EIN?

An EIN, more specifically, is a type of TIN assigned to business entities only, not to individuals. Also known as a federal tax identification number, it is used to identify your business as a single entity in the eyes of the federal government in all tax-related matters. It is also the proper TIN for all trusts and estates that derive income from their financial holdings. These earnings are required to be reported on Form 104, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.

The IRS EIN Filing Service is here to help the small business owner by simplifying the EIN filing process. We are a Third Party Designee of the IRS, so we can process EIN applications on behalf of individuals and entities applying for the EIN. The application for the EIN is open 24/7/365. Whether you are looking to apply for a Federal Tax ID number in Texas , Wisconsin Tax ID, or any other state, the application and support team are available online any time, and we offer customer service via telephone if necessary.