Do I Need an EIN for an LLC? All Situations Explained

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If you are planning to start a business or already running one, you might be wondering if you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC.

The answer depends on the type of LLC you have and whether you have employees or not. An EIN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business entity for tax purposes.

According to the IRS, most LLCs need an EIN if they have employees or if they have more than one member.

For single-member LLCs without employees, an EIN may not be required if they do not have any excise tax liability. However, some banks and financial institutions may require an EIN to open a business bank account or apply for a business loan.

It is important to note that an EIN is not the same as a business license or permit. While an EIN is necessary for tax purposes, you may also need to obtain other licenses and permits to operate your business legally.

In this article, we will explore the circumstances where you need an EIN for your LLC and how to apply for one.

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What is an LLC?

Businessman opening a paper
Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

LLC stands for Limited Liability Company. It is a type of business structure that combines the liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits of a partnership.

An LLC is a separate legal entity from its owners, known as members. This means that the LLC can enter into contracts, sue or be sued, and own property in its own name.

Unlike a corporation, an LLC is not taxed as a separate entity. Instead, the profits and losses of the LLC are passed through to its members, who report them on their individual tax returns. This is known as pass-through taxation and is one of the main advantages of an LLC.

Another advantage of an LLC is that it provides limited liability protection to its members. This means that the personal assets of the members are protected from the debts and liabilities of the LLC.

However, it is important to note that this protection is not absolute and there are circumstances where a member’s personal assets may be at risk.

What is an EIN?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to businesses for tax purposes. It is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN) or a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

The EIN is used by the IRS to identify businesses for tax purposes, such as filing tax returns, paying taxes, and opening a business bank account.

The EIN is required for most types of businesses, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies (LLCs).

It is also required for non-profit organizations, estates, and trusts. The EIN is used to identify the business entity, rather than the individual owners or employees.

When applying for an EIN, the business owner or authorized representative must provide information about the business, such as the legal name, address, type of entity, and the number of employees.

The application can be completed online, by mail, fax, or phone. Once approved, the EIN is issued immediately, and the business can start using it for tax purposes.

When is an EIN Required for an LLC?

LLCs, or limited liability companies, are a popular business structure for their flexibility and liability protection.

If you’re starting an LLC, you may be wondering whether you need to obtain an EIN, or employer identification number, from the IRS. Here are some cases when an EIN is required for your LLC:

Hiring Employees

If your LLC has employees, including part-time or seasonal workers, you must obtain an EIN from the IRS. This number is used to identify your business for tax and payroll purposes.

You’ll need to provide your EIN to the IRS when you file employment tax returns and make payroll tax deposits.

Opening Business Bank Accounts

Most banks require an EIN to open a business bank account. This number is used to identify your business for tax and legal purposes.

Having a separate bank account for your LLC can help you keep your personal and business finances separate, which is important for liability protection and accurate record-keeping.

Filing Business Tax Returns

Your LLC is considered a separate entity for tax purposes, which means you’ll need to file a separate tax return for your business. If you’re a single-member LLC, you can choose to be taxed as a sole proprietorship or a corporation.

If you’re a multi-member LLC, you can choose to be taxed as a partnership or a corporation. In either case, you’ll need an EIN to file your business tax return.

Changing Business Structure

If you’re changing the structure of your LLC, such as adding or removing members, or converting to a different business entity, you may need to obtain a new EIN from the IRS. Generally, if the ownership or structure of your LLC has changed, you’ll need a new EIN.

However, changing the name of your business does not require you to obtain a new EIN.

Overall, obtaining an EIN for your LLC is a straightforward process that can help you stay compliant with tax and legal requirements. If you’re unsure whether you need an EIN for your LLC, consult with a tax professional or legal advisor.

How to Apply for an EIN for an LLC?

Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC is a straightforward process. Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Determine your eligibility: LLCs that have employees or are taxed as corporations or partnerships are required to have an EIN. If your LLC is a single-member LLC with no employees, you may not need an EIN, but it may still be beneficial to obtain one.
  2. Access the online EIN application: The fastest way to apply for an EIN is online through the official IRS website. You can also apply by mail or fax using Form SS-4.
  3. Fill out the application: The online application will ask for basic information about your LLC, including its name, address, and type of business. You will also need to provide your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) as the responsible party for the LLC.
  4. Submit the application: Once you have completed the application, review it for accuracy and submit it. You will receive your EIN immediately upon completion of the online application.

It’s important to note that only one EIN is needed per LLC, even if the LLC has multiple businesses or locations. If you need to make changes to your EIN, such as changing the responsible party or business name, you can do so by contacting the IRS.


Getting an EIN for your LLC is an important step in setting up your business. It is required by the IRS in some circumstances, meaning you cannot legally operate your business.

Whether you are starting a new LLC or converting from a sole proprietorship, you will need to obtain an EIN.

Not only is it required by law, but having an EIN can also provide benefits to your business. It allows you to open a business bank account, apply for business credit, and hire employees.

It also helps to separate your personal and business finances and protects your personal assets.

Obtaining an EIN is a relatively simple process. You can apply online through the IRS website, by fax, or by mail. It is important to make sure that you have all the necessary information and documentation before applying to avoid any delays or issues.

In summary, if you have an LLC, you need an EIN. It is a legal requirement and can provide benefits to your business. With the right information and proper preparation, obtaining an EIN can be a straightforward process.

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Rick Wallace
Rick Wallace is an investor who has established several LLCs in different states. He writes about starting businesses via LLCs including topics such as choosing a registered agent.