Can an LLC get an EIN without an SSN?
A federal Employer Identification Number (also known as an EIN or FEIN) is to a business like a Social Security Number (SSN) for a business. The EIN is the LLC’s federal tax ID. Virtually all LLCs are required to have an EIN. When applying for an EIN, the IRS requires the LLC to designate one of the LLC’s owners as the “responsible party” by name and social security number. What happens if all of the LLC’s owners are foreigners and none of them have a SSN? This article will address the specific question of obtaining an EIN when the the LLC does not have a member with a social security number.
Do you need to be a US citizen or US resident to get an EIN?
No, there are no citizenship or residency requirements for getting an an EIN for an LLC. Any of the LLC’s owners can apply for an EIN, but only individuals with an SSN can apply for an EIN online. If the online application is not viable (i.e., none of the LLC’s owners have a SSN), you will have to fax file the EIN Application or mail it to the IRS.
Do you need a SSN to get an EIN?
No, a SSN is not required to obtain an EIN, but an SSN is required to apply for an EIN online. If none of the LLC’s owners have an SSN, the online application is not viable and you will be required to apply for the EIN via fax or mail.
How long does it take to get an EIN?
The online EIN Application results in the issuance of an EIN instantly, while the other application methods (fax and mail) can take substantially longer. The IRS takes about 4 weeks to process EIN applications received by mail and about 3 weeks when the EIN Application is submitted via fax (and the Applicant includes a fax number at the bottom right corner of the SS4).
- Online*: Instant
- Mail: 4 weeks
- Fax: 3 weeks
*not available when none of LLC’s owners have a SSN
Can I get an EIN online?
You are eligible to use the online EIN Application if (1) your principal business is located in the United States or U.S. Territories and (2) the person applying online (one of the LLC’s owners) has a valid SSN.
How can I get an EIN if I am not eligible to get an EIN online?
If you are not eligible to obtain an EIN online, you will need to fax or mail the EIN Application (IRS Form SS4) to the IRS. The downside to fax/mail filings is that it takes the IRS 2 – 3 months to process and issue an EIN. If you fax file the SS4, include the Applicant’s fax number (bottom right corner of the SS4) and you should get the EIN in less than a month.
How does someone without an SSN fill out IRS Form SS4?
Our friends at LLCUniversity have put together a great set of instructions on how foreigners should fill out the SS4.
ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) Info
The ITIN is not to be confused with the EIN. The ITIN is also issued by the IRS and is also a nine digit number. ITINs always start the number 9 (format is 9XX-XX-XXXX). However, the ITIN was created for tax purposes for individuals who are not eligible to have an SSN, such as foreign nationals, so that they can pay the taxes they are legally required to pay from their earned income. ITINs do not provide legal status or work authorization. Applicants must fill out a W-7 and submit it to the IRS. It takes 6-10 weeks to get an ITIN.
Should I get an ITIN to get an EIN?
No, an ITIN is not required and the ITIN application takes just as long as a fax filed EIN Application (which is how one must apply for an EIN when they do not have an SSN).