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Employer Identification Number Lookup Guide: Everything you need to know about your EIN / Tax ID Number

“Help, I need to find my EIN number!” If this is you, no need to worry. In the guide below, we’ll show you several different methods you can use to find your EIN number or look up your TIN. Read on below.

So, you don’t know where your EIN is you’ve misplaced it (happens to the best of us).

Good thing there are many EIN lookup or Tax ID lookup tools available for your business to find your EIN number or TIN/BN (in the case of Canadian businesses), it’s just a matter of finding out which method is the most convenient for you based on what information you still have on hand to help you in your search.

But first, if you’ve never needed to look up your EIN number before (before you’ve never needed it until now!), let’s talk a bit about why your EIN or TIN number is important

Why is your EIN important?

Think of your EIN, or Tax Identification Number, as your business’s social security number.

For the most part, you don’t need to know the specifics about your EIN number, all the things it’s used for– from applying for business financing to filing your business tax returns– and how one is issued, as simply having your number is enough for anything you’ll ever need it for.

That is…unless you lose it.

Specifically, I’m talking about losing your Form SS-4– the form you submitted to the IRS when you applied for an EIN number– or the confirmation letter that’s typically given to you by the IRS when an EIN or TIN is registered to you which has your EIN number on it.

How many EIN can I have?

The number of separate entities you have is how many employer identification numbers you are allowed to have. i.e. If you have ten different entities you can have 10 different EIN numbers and so on.

*Side note: An Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), goes by many names including Tax Identification Number (Tax ID) and 95 Number. Don’t let it confuse you, these are all different names for the same number. For more information about EIN numbers, visit IRS.gov.

Preferably, you have your number memorized. However, unlike your social security number, you didn’t grow up with it and haven’t used it dozens of times in the past so it’s common for you to attempt an employer identification number lookup.

At most, you’ve probably used your EIN no more than a handful of times. So the chances a business owner has their EIN number memorized are slim.

You can’t obtain a copy of your Form SS-4 from the IRS without your EIN, which means you can’t obtain your EIN by simply requesting a copy of your SS-4 or confirmation letter.

So, if you no longer have a copy of your Form SS-4 or confirmation letter, you’ll need to use one of several other methods of EIN lookup to acquire your EIN (whether via pre-existing paperwork or EIN lookup platforms).

Fortunately, there are several.

But first, why is it so important to keep your EIN or Tax ID number on-hand? Why should you make an effort to keep your Form SS-4 or confirmation letter in your files for whenever you’ll need it?

Let’s talk a little about why an EIN is important and then we’ll cover 4 methods for finding it.

Lastly, we’ll touch on when and how to apply for a new EIN in the rare case that you should actually be getting a new EIN and not using an old one.

Why an EIN number is important

An EIN, or Tax ID number, is important for several reasons.

Most business owners associate an EIN with taxes, and it’s true that one of the reasons a Tax ID is important is because you use it for filing your annual tax return as well as making associated tax payments.

However, an EIN is also used for:

  • Form 1099 (Independent contractors only)
  • Applying for a business checking account
  • Applying or business financing or a business credit card

If you ever have plans for applying for any type of working capital loans or intend to open a business account at a relevant bank, you’ll need your EIN to certify that you’re an official business.

Some sole proprietors can get by without one. However, if you don’t have an EIN you’ll be filing your taxes together– both personal and business– which can make your business financials messy.

How to utilize the EIN / Tax ID lookup tools available to your business

“Can I look up a tax ID number?”

While you can’t look up your EIN ot tax ID number, it is possible to locate documents that will have your EIN number on them. 

When a bank or lender requests your EIN while applying for any kind of business loan or other financing, it’s easy to get tripped up because it’s not the kind of thing that you keep on hand.

If you lose your number, that can slow down the financing process or keep you from being able to open that account, which can have real ramifications for your business.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to obtain your EIN if you’ve lost it.

Here are 4 ways for a Tax ID number or EIN lookup:

1. EIN Confirmation Letter

Before we get into other methods, do yourself a favor and dig around for your EIN confirmation letter.

You might not have your original Form SS-4 which you can provide to the IRS to obtain your EIN, however, you the IRS provides a confirmation letter to every business owner once their EIN is officially registered so you might still have that hanging around somewhere.

Ultimately, it all depends on how you choose to obtain your confirmation letter when you completed your EIN application, which can be delivered via good ol’ snail mail or viewable online:


2. Tax documents

So, you can’t find your confirmation letter, you’re frustrated and really need to find your EIN now.

Don’t worry, we’ve got a few more methods for obtaining your EIN or Tax ID number even if you don’t have your Form SS-4 or confirmation letter to help with your EIN lookup battle.

First, check over any and all tax documents, including tax returns and notices, that you have on file related to your business. Each of these tax documents should have your EIN listed at the top of the first page.

If you don’t have any tax returns or relevant paperwork on hand that has your EIN listed, you can also use the information from your personal copy of certain IRS forms with EIN lookup:

Form 8871+8872

Form 8871 and Form 8872 are related to contributions and relevant gifts to political organizations.

Here’s Form 8871:


And Form 8872:


If you’ve ever given a monetary or other type of gift to a relevant organization, you can locate the information the IRS has on hand for either form to get your EIN.

First, head to IRS.gov via this link: IRS.gov 8871+8872 combined search.

Next, click on the relevant boxes based on how you’d like to search for your Form 8871 or 8872 information (based on the information you remember, the more the better):


Once you’re done selecting all relevant information, click “Next Step” to move on:


Lastly, enter the name of your business exactly as it’s listed on official tax or other IRS paperwork:


Assuming you’ve entered your information correctly, you’ll be presented with information from your Form 8871 and 8872 which you can then use to locate your EIN (just as your tax returns, it will be listed at the top of the first page).

Form 990

In addition to Forms 8871 and 8872, you can also use IRS Form 990 to locate your EIN or Tax ID number:


To search via Form 990, visit irs.gov/app/eos/.

Simply select “Copies of Returns (990…)” from Select Database, select “Organization Name” under Search By, and enter your business name under Search Term to find your Form 990 information:


3. Business documents

In addition to tax documents, you can also use most other relevant business documents to find your EIN.

Any and all official business documents must list your EIN, so they’re a reliable way to procure it.

Business documents that will have your EIN listed on them include:

  • Business licenses and permits
  • Business bank account statements
  • Business credit report
  • Business loan applications

However, it’s important to note that documents related to the formation of your business, whether that’s your Articles of Incorporation or DBA documents, do not list your EIN.

4. If all else fails for an EIN lookup, call The IRS

If none of the above search methods work for you, calling the IRS is another simple and straightforward option.

The IRS’ Business & Specialty Tax Line is accessible at 1-800-829-4933 from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. (local time) Monday through Friday.

Simply call the number and tell the representative you need your EIN. For this method to work, you need to have access to certain sensitive identification information, however, if you’ve got that then it’s a pretty painless process aside from the typically long wait times.

Keep in mind that to obtain your EIN over the phone you must be able to prove that you’re a qualified person including:

  • The sole proprietor in a sole proprietorship
  • Partner in a partnership
  • Corporate officer

Once you’ve answered their security questions, they’ll be able to provide your business’ EIN.

When (and How) to apply for a new EIN (when EIN Lookup fails)

Your EIN or Tax ID number will stay with your business for the life of the company.

However, if certain changes are undergone a new EIN needs to be issued. So, if you’re moving forward with any of the below changes to your business, keep in mind that your old EIN is not going to work and you’ll need to apply for a new one:

  • Ownership has changed
  • You were a sole proprietor when you received your EIN and have since incorporated
  • You’re a sole proprietor and you’ve recently established a retirement or profit-sharing plan (after receiving your original EIN)
  • You purchase a pre-existing business (can use their old EIN)
  • Your business becomes a subsidiary

For more information and a complete list of cases where your business will need to obtain a new EIN, see irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1635.

One common case where you would not need to apply for a new EIN is in the case of a business ceasing operation and then picking up shop again later. If you’re picking up operations again after a hiatus, your EIN is still relevant.

TIN search: Finding your TIN number (Canadian business ID lookup)

If you’re a Canadian business owner looking for your TIN number, we’ve got good news: it’s (generally) easy to find.

For individual residents of Canada (non-corporation, non-partnership business owners), your TIN number is your nine-digit SIN. 

So long as you know your SIN, you’re good to go!

However, for corporations (as well as partnerships), your TIN is your nine-digit Business Number (BN) issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). 

So, let’s talk about how to find your BN.

How to find your BN

Finding your BN is, fortunately, super easy and relatively straightforward.

To find your BN, use Canada’s official Business Registration Online service:

TIN Search - TIN Lookup

It’s used for not only registering for a BN if you don’t already have one, but can be used to find your existing BN number.

If for some reason you can’t get into the BRO service, contact Canada’s official government website here.

EIN Lookup: Finding your EIN is simple and easy

“How do I find my EIN number?! It’s so hard!”

It can be frustrating to attempt to open a new business account or apply for financing, be asked for your EIN, and proceed to find out that you’ve lost it and all relevant paperwork with your EIN or Tax ID number on it (and no other obvious way to get it).

However, there are several simple and easy ways to obtain your EIN even if you don’t have a single tax return or your confirmation letter.

If you can’t find your EIN or Tax ID number, look around for your confirmation letter, and if you can’t find it, look through your relevant tax and business documents. If that doesn’t work, simply give the IRS a call and provide the necessary information.

No matter what, obtaining your EIN should be easy. So, if you’ve lost it, and not having it is holding you back from moving forward with something important, don’t sweat it.

Frequently asked questions

1. Can I look up a business EIN number?

Unfortunately, no. The only way to obtain your Tax ID number is from your accountant or from/on certain documentation you have for your business such as your tax return, SS4 letter, EIN confirmation letter, or 1099.

If you don’t have access to any of that, you’ll need to contact the IRS directly, who can provide you an EIN number as well as send you a copy of your SS4 letter.

2. Is there a federal Tax ID number lookup company or service I can use to simplify the process?

As nice as that would be, no, there is no outside service that allows you to obtain your Tax ID number outside of the IRS.

To obtain your Tax federal Tax ID number (assuming you already have one and are simply looking it up because you forgot/lost the document), you must go directly to the IRS.