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Terms and Definitions

What is an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?

Updated: May 21, 2024

EIN definition and meaning

An employer identification number (EIN) is the unique nine-digit federal tax ID the Internal Revenue Service gives each employer — kind of like a social security number for a business. It’s typically in the format of 00-1234567, and the IRS uses it to track employment tax history, tax filings, and payments.


More about EINs

Sometimes referred to as an FEIN (Federal Employee Identification Number), an employer identification number is used on all of an employers’ tax filings. An EIN is the way the IRS identifies your business and verifies your activities with federal and state governments, banks, lending offices, and payroll services. Some states issue their own employer identification number as well, but many use the same EIN issued by the IRS.


Examples of when you might need your EIN are when you open a bank account, apply for a business license, complete tax forms, or hire new employees. If you have trouble finding your EIN, check documents such as old tax returns, your business credit report, or payroll paperwork.


How do you register for an EIN

Requesting an EIN through the IRS just takes a few minutes. See instructions and get tips for setting up payroll here.

Using Employer Identification Number in a sentence

“I need to look up my Employee Identification Number so I can fill out my tax forms properly.”

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