A non-US citizen does NOT need a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Let’s first define the differences between EIN vs. ITIN…
What is an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?
Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify a business.
Think of an EIN as the social security number for your business. Just as a social security number is important for U.S. citizens to have, an EIN is necessary for a business to lawfully conduct business in United States.
All U.S. companies are required to have an EIN to start a business, open a U.S. bank account, hire employees, conduct business in United States, comply with the IRS, and more.
International business owners registering a company in the US are required to obtain an EIN for their US company. In some cases, foreign companies owning assets in the US or doing business in the US are required to obtain EINs as well.
There is a common misconception that in order to get EIN you need to have a Social Security Number (SSN). Since most foreigners do not have a Social Security Number (SSN), the IRS has a special procedure to apply EIN for companies owned by foreigners without SSN.
The IRS does assign EIN to non-US citizens who do not have an SSN, which requires some paperwork and understanding on how to correctly fill out that paperwork.
To learn how to get an EIN even if you do not have an SSN or ITIN, continue to read below...
What is an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)?
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. ITIN is used on federal tax documents to file taxes.
IRS issues ITIN to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN).
So in other words, Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used to identify businesses and is necessary if you will be conducting and operating a business in United States. On the other hand, Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is a number used to file taxes.
Make sure you understand the difference between the two numbers. If you still have questions about which one you may need, feel free to email me [LINK] and I will clearly explain which one you may need.
How to Get an EIN without SSN or ITIN
If you are a US citizen and have a Social Security Number (SSN), getting an EIN is easy and can be applied for online here.
However, if you are a non-US citizen and do not have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), you cannot apply for an EIN online or by phone. This is what you should do....
Here’s what you need to do instead to get an EIN…
- Get a business lawyer to act as your Third-Party Designee to represent your business
- The business lawyer will prepare your EIN application and apply for your EIN with the IRS on your behalf
- The business lawyer will receive your EIN on your behalf
To guarantee that you receive your EIN correctly and on time, it is highly recommended to have a business lawyer act as your Third-Party Designee apply for your EIN on your behalf.
Questions about getting your EIN? Contact business lawyer, Sam Mollaei, Esq., at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your EIN.