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Answering Common Questions About Applying For An EIN Online: Part 2

starting an llcIn the first part of this series, we answered some commonly asked questions about applying for an EIN (employer identification number) online. Obtaining an EIN is one of the most important steps of starting an LLC, and even though it can be filed a number of different ways (by fax, by mail, or by telephone), applying online is the method of choice for many business owners due to convenience and simplicity. Let’s get into part two of our FAQ about obtaining an EIN online.

What if the legal name of a business includes a dollar sign ($) or other symbol?
Unfortunately, the IRS does not recognize symbols as a legal part of a business’ name. The legal characters allowed in business names are letters, numbers, hyphens, and ampersands. If your business name does include an invalid symbol, you will have to decide the best alternative when entering the business name. The IRS has a few quick suggestions for simple replacements: consider spelling out the symbol, substituting it for a hyphen or space, or omitting it completely.

How can I tell if an EIN has been obtained online?
EINs that have been registered online as opposed to by phone, fax, or mail have specific prefixes: 20, 26, 27, 45, 46, 47, 81, and 82. If an EIN was obtained online, it’s sure to have one of these prefixes. However, the IRS notes, “We cannot process your application online if the responsible party is an entity with an EIN previously obtained through the Internet. Please use one of our other methods to apply … We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.”

What if someone files for an EIN online and then forgets their number?
If you start an LLC, obtain an EIN online, and then forget the number, don’t worry — it’s simple to recover it. Since the IRS updates EIN records immediately, you can call (800) 829-4933, select ‘EIN’ from the options list, and connect with an IRS employee who will then ask a few security questions before revealing your EIN.

According to the National Association of Small Business’s 2015 Economic Report, the majority of small businesses surveyed are S-corporations (42%), followed by LLCs (23%). Ultimately, to create an LLC requires you to obtain an EIN, and understanding the different methods and processes of filing for an EIN can help you make the most efficient decision for your business needs. For more information about how to form a corporation or how to form an LLC, contact My USA Corporation.

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