Getting a Tax ID

Following on from my Tax ID clarified post, I have constructed a Tax ID Cheat Sheet to walk you through the steps to obtain a federal tax ID in the USA. This should simplify the process significantly as I had to do a lot of research to get mine done. So here goes…

Tax ID – Cheat Sheet

 

  1. First check if your country of residence has a tax treaty with the US. Find out if you need to pay income tax in the US, in your country of residence or both by checking with your country’s government tax website;

 

  1. If you are not based in the US and are not going to file an income tax return in the US, then you will need to apply for an EIN in order to file for Sales Tax in the relevant US states/territories;

 

  1. If you will be filing an income tax return in the US, then you will need to apply for an ITIN (not covered in this cheat sheet);

 

  1. Live abroad and need further advice/confirmation on which tax ID you need to apply for? Call this number, +1 267 941 1000 and follow the prompts (press 1 for English, then option 4 and option 4 again)2. You will be able to describe your business activity and the IRS representative will confirm which ID you need to apply for;

 

  1. Applying for an EIN:
  • You will need to fill and submit an SS4 form;
  • You can do this online if you already have a Social Security Number or an ITIN. I am going to assume you do not;
  • Applications can no longer be filed over the phone and will need to be submitted in writing;
  • You can access the SS-4 form here1 and the official “Instructions for Form SS-4” here1;
  • Your application can be mailed or faxed – if faxing, ensure you send your fax to the number for international applications as shown on the “Instructions for Form SS-4” document on page 2 (+1 267 941 1040);
    • The IRS aim to respond to mailed applications within 6 weeks;
    • The IRS aim to respond to faxed applications within 5 working days;
  • If you haven’t heard back within this time frame or wish to follow up your application, call +1 267 941 1000 and follow the prompts (press 1 for English, then option 1)2;

 

  1. Now that you have your EIN, you can go ahead and register for your sales tax ID with states in which you hold a nexus.

 

Disclosure: I am not a tax advisor and the information provided is only a reflection of what I’ve learnt from my personal experience. Please do your own research and fully understand your obligations before making any decisions.

1Link worked on 26th Jan 2016. Use this link if you are having trouble accessing the site, go to www.irs.gov and search for the SS4 From.

2Promt sequence was accurate as of 26th Jan 2016. Please listen to options to ensure you are entering the correct prompts.