A Tax ID Number can go by many names. It may be called a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), an Employer Identification Number (EIN), a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), or an Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN). Actually, your Social Security Number (SSN) is a species of Tax ID Number, being the number you put on your Federal and State income tax returns.
Social Security Number
You probably already have a Social Security Number (SSN), that unique 9-digit number assigned to you by the Social Security Administration when you were a child or when you got your first job. It’s main purpose is to track your earnings throughout your working life so as to determine your Social Security benefits if you become disabled or when you retire. It’s also used as the ID number on your individual income tax return, including if you’re a sole proprietorship or owner or part-owner of a partnership, LLC, or S corporation. If for some reason you don’t already have an SSN, you’ll need to apply to the Social Security Administration to get one and its corresponding Social Security Card.
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Employer Identification Number (EIN)
All businesses other than sole proprietorships need an EIN, whether or not they have employees. The IRS issues these numbers to legal entities such as corporations, partnerships, estates, non-profits, etc. so they can report the employment taxes they withhold and/or pay. In addition, the EIN is used on a business’s annual informational tax return if it’s not required to pay Federal and State income taxes or on its tax return if it is. An EIN sometimes is called a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). You can apply for an EIN online from the IRS or use a third-party provider like Gov Doc Filing, which often simplifies and expedites the process.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
Individuals who must have an identification number for tax filing purposes, but are not eligible to receive an SSN or an EIN, apply to the IRS for an Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN). It cannot be used to apply for Social Security or other benefits, nor for job applications.