How to File for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

By Professional Advice (ProAdvice) – 24 June 2024

How to File for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)


For every new business in Texas, obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a critical step. This unique number, assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), not only facilitates tax administration but also allows your business to hire employees, open business bank accounts, and more. This guide, tailored for the Texas Business Directory, will walk you through the traditional and online methods of filing for an EIN and explain when you should apply for one.

Understanding an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is used to identify a business entity and is necessary for various business activities. It’s essentially the social security number for your business. Most businesses need an EIN, including those that plan to open a bank account, hire employees, or operate as a corporation or partnership.

When Should You File for an EIN?

  1. Starting a New Business: As soon as you plan to engage in business activities that involve banking, hiring, or partnerships, you should apply for an EIN.
  2. Changes in Business Structure: If your business transitions from a sole proprietorship to a corporation or partnership, you will need a new EIN.
  3. Ownership or Management Changes: Significant changes in ownership percentages or the management structure typically require a new EIN.

Traditional Filing Methods

By Mail or Fax: You can apply for an EIN by completing IRS Form SS-4 and sending it to the IRS by mail or fax. The form requires detailed information about your business, including its legal name, address, and type of business entity.

  • Mail: Send the completed Form SS-4 to the appropriate IRS address. This process may take up to four weeks.
  • Fax: You can fax the completed form to the IRS. This method is faster, with a turnaround time of about one week.

Online Filing: A Quicker Alternative

The most efficient way to obtain an EIN is through the IRS’s online application process. Available to all businesses whose principal business, office, or agency, or legal residence (in the case of an individual), is located in the United States or U.S. Territories, the online application process is straightforward:

  1. Prepare Your Information: Before you begin the application, ensure you have all necessary information, including the business name, address, and type of entity.
  2. Access the IRS EIN Online Application: Visit the IRS website and locate the EIN online application. The system is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
  3. Complete the Application: Follow the prompts to enter your business information. The process is intuitive and provides help for each section.
  4. Receive Your EIN Instantly: Upon completion, the system will immediately issue your EIN, which you can begin using right away.

Benefits of Applying Online

  • Speed: Receive your EIN immediately.
  • Convenience: Complete the application from anywhere with internet access.
  • Direct Confirmation: Get instant confirmation and your official EIN documentation electronically.

Tips for a Smooth Application Process

  • Review All Information: Double-check your entries before submitting to avoid delays caused by errors.
  • Understand the Requirements: Make sure your business qualifies for an EIN and gather all necessary information beforehand.
  • Use the Latest IRS Form SS-4: Ensure you’re using the most recent version of the form if applying by mail or fax.


Applying for an EIN is a crucial step in establishing and legitimizing your business in Texas. Whether you choose the traditional paper method or the efficient online application, understanding the process and preparing in advance will make it a smooth experience. Remember, the EIN is not just a requirement but a foundational element of your business identity in the financial and regulatory systems of the U.S.

This comprehensive article provides the essential steps and tips for Texas entrepreneurs seeking to navigate federal requirements efficiently. Whether you’re just starting out or updating your business’s tax status, this article serves as your go-to resource for obtaining an EIN.

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