How to Locate an Employer Identification Number

An EIN is needed to correctly report income on your 1040.

The Internal Revenue Service is responsible for assigning Employer Identification Numbers (EIN), which are also sometimes referred to as Federal Tax Identification Numbers. These numbers are typically obtained by businesses when filling out tax forms, although they can also be used when applying for loans.


The number identifies the business the same way a Social Security number identifies an individual taxpayer. If a company loses or misplaces an EIN, there are several ways to retrieve it.

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Locate Your Original Notice

If you're wondering how to find EIN numbers, the best place to start is with your original notice. How you received the notice is dependent upon how you applied for the EIN. According to the IRS, if you applied online, you would have received the number immediately after submitting the application. Check your email history to locate the notice and you'll find the EIN inside that email.


The IRS also allows for applying via fax using Form SS-4. A reply with your EIN will be faxed back ​within a week​, so check your records to see where you stored the notice after you received it. Some fax machines have a memory, so you may also be able to search the fax machine and locate the notice.


Businesses that mailed in their Form SS-4 will have to wait ​up to 4 to 5 weeks​ for their notice to arrive in the mail. This notice will include the assigned EIN. Check your filing cabinet to locate the notice.

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Check Other Applications

Since you can use an EIN to apply for credit cards, business loans and state or local licenses or tax permits, you should check those applications as well. If you don't still have the applications saved in your filing system, you can contact the lenders or license issuers directly to request a copy. Be prepared to present identification to prove you are authorized to receive this information.


Review a Previous Tax Return

If you had the EIN longer than ​12 months​, you most likely used it on a previous tax return. Search your files to locate the tax return and find EIN for businesses. In the event that you also misplaced your previous tax return, you can request a copy from the IRS.


Call ​800-908-9946​ and request the transcript through an agent or use the Get Transcript Online tool. It will take about ​five to 10 calendar days​ for the transcript to arrive in the mail.

There's also the option to make this transcript request by mail using either Form 4506-T or Form 4506-T-EZ. If you're looking for a copy of the tax return instead of a transcript, you'll need to use Form 4506, but be aware that this option comes with a ​$43 fee​. Copies are available for the previous ​seven years​.


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Get Help From the IRS

Finally, you can find company EIN numbers by contacting the IRS directly and requesting that they do a search for your EIN. You can contact the Business & Specialty Tax Line at ​800-829-4933​ any Monday through Friday between the hours of ​7 a.m. and 7 p.m.​ local time.


It is important to note that the IRS representative is only allowed to speak with an authorized individual, such as the business owner or a corporate officer. Be prepared to present identifying information to confirm you are an authorized individual. The representative will then locate your EIN and report it back to you over the phone.

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