How to get your EIN or Federal ID Number the right way

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses who have employees or are registered as a corporation, LLC or partnership need an EIN. You can apply for an EIN online at This is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service and you can get your EIN immediately.

Be aware of websites that offer services to get your EIN for you. These are third party companies who are taking advantage of small businesses and charging fees for services that are free or low cost and do not require a third-party company in most instances. In addition to acquiring an EIN number, third party companies offer services for many transactions that are offered for free or for minimal fees. These include services offering to find free federal grants, Department of Labor posters (always free at the Department of Labor website or through your state workforce office), Financial Aid services (FAFSA), etc. Always start directly with the agency that is associated with the service you need. You’ll be fully informed of the process and what is really needed to complete the task at hand. A good rule of thumb is to make sure the website you’re using ends in .gov. If it doesn’t, there is a very good chance you are going to a third-party company unnecessarily which could cost time, money and expose your personal information.

If at all in doubt, find more resources at Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are located all through Iowa and the United States and are a free service for Small Businesses and startups for business planning, strategy, management issues and many other areas to help businesses grow. , If you are in Iowa find your local SBDC at For other areas,  you can find your State SBDC at

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA). All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA