What is an EIN and how to get one for your 501(c)(3) nonprofit
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that IRS assigns in the following format: XX-XXXXXXX. It is used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain others who have no employees. However, for employee plans, an alpha (for example, P) or the plan number (e.g., 003) may follow the EIN. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers that are required to file various business tax returns. EINs are used by employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profit associations, trusts, estates of decedents, government agencies, certain individuals, and other business entities. Use your EIN on all of the items that you send to the IRS and the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Whether you are going to have employees or not, you need to apply for the Employee Identification Number from the IRS. The EIN is like a social security number for your entity, the IRS will identify your organization with this number from now on. The good news is that it’s a super simple process, and has one of the quickest turnaround times. You can apply for the EIN from here.
You will receive a letter from the IRS informing you of your EIN which will look like this one: