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What Businesses Need Tax ID Numbers?

If you are starting a business in the United States you would have to decide the kind of structure your business is going to have. There are five basic structures for any small business, and each of them has their own set of rules to follow and the differences are mainly to do with the liabilities and taxation.

The simplest form of business is the Sole Proprietorship where everything is owned by you as an individual. All liabilities and assets are yours and the incomes and expenses of the business are shown on your personal income tax. You would need your personal Employer identification Number or EIN to file details of any taxes you withhold from your employees. In case there are no employees an individual can use his SSN to file tax returns as an individual and would not need an EIN. You can apply for a tax id number for a Sole Proprietorship right here on this website.

You can form a business as a partnership with another person or persons and each partner is responsible for the profits and losses of the partnership. An annual report has to be filed detailing the income, expenses, profit or loss that is passed on to each partner. Filing of such a return would need an EIN. The individual partner would then be responsible for paying his own taxes.

You can start a business as a corporation and invest into the stock of the corporation. When profits are distributed to the shareholders the individual owning stock has to show these profits in his annual returns and is taxed accordingly. In a corporation any losses if any cannot be shown in the returns of the individual shareholder. The corporation would require a separate EIN where detail of the highest ranking officer in the corporation has to be submitted and taxes for the corporation are required to be paid.

One can opt to form an S corporation where the taxes are paid only once and shareholders can include the corporationís accounts in his own returns.

Limited Liability companies are formed by business owners so that the personal liabilities of the individual members or owners are protected and their liability lies only to the extent of the investment they have made in the company. Such companies would require applying for an EIN where the principal officer has to be named.

EINs are different from SSNs (Social Security Numbers) and would generally identify you as an individual or a company for the purpose of filing tax returns or any other information required by the IRS. This will include annual business returns and taxation details if any. Returns are also to be filed using these EINís to generate returns of taxes withheld by the EIN holder during the course of the business. EINs can be used to identify the state in which the company or entity is operating.

Applying for an EIN is a simple matter once you have decided the type of business that you want to set up. You can do it on line without much of a hassle, as long as you are able to fill in all the details required on the form. EINs can be obtained within a week or two of applying. It is best to get this formality out of the way as soon as possible, as you would not be able to file any information or returns about your business unless you have this EIN.


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Businesses that Need a Tax ID Number:
  • Sole Proprietor / Individual
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation
  • S-Corporation
  • Personal Service Corporation
  • Church Controlled Organization
  • Non-profit Organization
  • 501(c)(3)
  • Trusts
  • Estate of a Deceased Individual



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