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IRS Revises EIN Application Process

The Internal Revenue Service has revised the process for applying for an Employer Identification Number. Starting May 13, only individuals with tax identification numbers can request an EIN as the responsible party on the application.

Nine-digit EINs are available to sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, employee retirement plans and other entities for tax filing and reporting purposes. Entities will no longer be able to use their own EINs to obtain additional EINS. Only governmental entities (federal, state, local and tribal), along with the military, including state national guards, are exempt from requirement.

Responsible parties must have either Social Security or individual taxpayer identification numbers.

The Form SS-4 Instructions provide a detailed explanation of who should be the responsible party for various types of entities. The new requirement applies both paper Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number (PDF), and online EIN application.

A responsible party is generally a person who ultimately owns or controls the entity or who exercises ultimate effective control over the entity. In the case the definition fits more than one person, the entity can pick the responsible party. Tax professionals can continue as third-party designees who can complete applications.

There is no change for tax professionals who may act as third-party designees for entities and complete the paper or online applications on behalf of clients. The official designation can by changed by completing Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party.

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