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What is an SS-4?

Learn what an SS4 is, and whether or not you need one. Discover your answers.

September 18, 2021
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Applying for a small business loan can be overwhelming, but you can do a few things to make the application process smooth. On top of filing your most recent year’s business income tax return, you’d also want to make copies of the documents a lender is most likely to ask for. One of these documents is your IRS SS-4.

The IRS Form SS-4 is also called the “Application for Employer Identification Number.” It’s also used for the identification of employers and other legal purposes. You’ll most likely be asked to provide an EIN to open a savings account or loan application. You may also have to provide an EIN for accepting credit or debit cards.

It’s a short, two-page form that asks for the following information:

  • The primary activity that the business does
  • The purpose of obtaining an FEIN
  • The responsible party for the company, in addition to their ITIN or SSN
  • The type of business: if it’s a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship
  • The mailing address, trade name, and legal name of the business

After filling out the form, you can send it through fax, mail, or online. Identical to a Social Security number for individuals, the EIN is nine digits assigned to a business. 

What Is an SS-4 Form?

A Form SS-4 is also called an Application for Employer Identification Number. The US Internal Revenue Service requires this document for tax filing and reporting purposes.

Trusts, partnerships, estates, corporations, sole proprietors, and employers must use this document. These parties can ask for an EIN or an Employer Identification Number, a nine-digit number needed for tax filing and reporting, by using this form.

Who Needs a Form SS-4?

Organizations that need an EIN must fill out the form. EINs are given to organizations by the IRS to identify them for tax purposes. Any organization that needs an EIN and is filing for the taxpayer identification number for the first time also requires a Form SS-4. If you need EIN for an estate of a deceased individual, corporation, partnership, trust, non-profit, or sole proprietorship, you need this document.

The IRS has a simple checklist that will tell you if your business will need an EIN. Most small businesses that aren’t sole proprietorships will most likely need one. If any of the following questions apply to your small business, you’ll need an EIN:

  • Do you have an uncommon retirement plan?
  • Do you withhold taxes on non-income paid to a non-resident alien?
  • Do you file tax returns for Firearms, Tobacco, Alcohol, or Employment?
  • Is your business structured as a partnership or a corporation?
  • Do you have employees?
  • Is your business involved in any of the following kinds of organizations: plan administrators, farmer’s cooperatives, non-profit organizations, real estate mortgage investment conduits, estates, or tax returns?

If one of these questions applies to your business, you should fill out an SS-4 form and immediately submit it to the IRS.

What Is an EIN and Why Apply for It?

EINs are also needed for tax purposes. If your business has employees, you need an EIN to file and pay for payroll taxes. Only specific kinds of businesses need an EIN to file a business income tax return.

On the other hand, single-person LLCs and sole proprietorships with no employers are the only types of entities that are exempt from this requirement.

You’ll have to provide paperwork and documentation when applying for a small business mortgage. Other lenders will ask for a copy of your SS-4 form as a part of the application process.

In fact, having an EIN is beneficial. You can speed up your business loan application, establish business credit, open a business bank account, and streamline a bookkeeping process by separating your business and personal finances.

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Information Needed On Form SS-4

You can quickly fill out the Form SS-4 online, which you can find on the IRS website. Filling out the form should be an easy task. Expect to provide information like:

  • The principal type of products and services offered
  • Principal business activity
  • The highest number of expected employees in the next year
  • Date your business started
  • Reason for applying for an EIN
  • Type of business entity
  • Name of applicant and their EIN, ITIN, or SSN
  • Your business’s address and legal name

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How to Request a Copy of Your IRS Form SS-4 (SS-4 Form Instructions)

Grab your EIN.

Firstly, you’ll need your EIN, so if you haven’t memorized it, you can find it on either:

  • Prior corporate tax returns

  • Bank accounts that you opened under the corporation. Call your bank to get a copy.

Once you’ve already obtained your EIN, follow the next step.

Call the IRS.

Take your EIN and call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933. It’s open from 7 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Friday. So make sure to call between those hours and days.

Provide your information.

After calling a B&S Tax specialist, please provide them with the necessary information about your business for verification. It will include the reason for applying and your EIN. You will also have to verify that you are an authorized contact from within the company. It means that you will have to provide your title in the company.

Ask for a copy of your EIN assignment letter.

Once verified, ask for a copy of your EIN assignment letter from the tax specialist. It would help if you didn’t ask for a copy of Form SS-4 because the IRS doesn’t authorize getting copies of completed tax documents. You have to ask for a copy of your EIN assignment letter.

Get your Form SS-4 letter.

Getting a copy of Form SS-4 is another item needed to obtain and apply for a business loan. You can quickly obtain one by calling the appropriate offices. Whether you’re planning to apply for a business loan, you should start gathering the needed documents. You’ll avoid potential delays when applying.

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Need help in filing your taxes and documents, and dealing with forms like the SS4? Get tips from StartPack today!

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Pro Tip:

Remember that form SS-4 can be filed online or mailed to the IRS, but it can’t be e-filed. So you can try applying by telephone.

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Why You Need IRS Form SS-4 to Verify Your EIN

Lenders can't use tax returns to verify an EIN. The IRS uses the EIN reported on your tax return to match your return to your business, but typos and clerical errors happen.

Lenders know that if you file a paper tax return, your tax preparer may have recorded your EIN incorrectly instead of filling out the form electronically. Identifying that error and informing you of it can take the IRS months or even longer.

Lenders should also ensure that they're using the right EIN when underwriting your business loan and reviewing your loan application. They can't always risk a clerical error leading to a delayed underwriting process and unwise decision.

Need Help In Filing Your Documents? Contact StartPack Today!

StartPack is a company that offers services associated with filing documents so you can focus more on your business.

At Startpack.io, we'll help you incorporate, access US Payment systems, and stay legal year over year. For your tax filing needs, we're the team you can also rely on. Call us now.

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FAQs on IRS Form SS-4

How long will it take to get an EIN (Employer Identification Number)?

Applying for an EIN has a quick turnaround time, especially if you submitted the form electronically. But some instances can result in delays. Business entities incorporated outside of the United States can apply for an EIN, but they can’t do that online. It may result in delays because they have to rely on slower processing.

How do I obtain my IRS form SS-4 notice?

You can use the IRS’ online application tool to submit the document and obtain it if you haven’t applied for an EIN or if you don't have a copy of Form SS-4. You can also fill out the form and submit it to the Department of Treasury if you don’t want to use the online application tool on the IRS website.

What if I don’t have an SS-4 notice?

If all your attempts to recover a copy of your IRS Form SS-4 notice are unsuccessful, you’ll have to ask for a copy of your EIN assignment letter from the IRS. Fortunately, this is an easy task. You can ask for a replacement copy by calling the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line.

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About the author

Arjun Mahadevan

Co-Founder and CEO at StartPack

Arjun is into helping founders turn their dream idea into a profitable business. Arjun is into health & fitness đź’Ş and tech đź’»

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