Can an LLC get an EIN without an SSN?

A federal Employer Identification Number (aka EIN or FEIN) is to a business like a Social Security Number (SSN) is to an individual. The EIN is the LLC’s federal tax ID. Virtually all U.S. LLCs are required to have an EIN. When applying for an EIN, the IRS requires the LLC to designate one of the LLC’s owners as the “responsible party” by name and social security number (or ITIN). What happens if all of the LLC’s owners are foreigners and none of them have a SSN? This article will address the specific question of obtaining an EIN when the the LLC does not have a member with a social security number.

EIN Without an SSN

The easiest way to get an EIN for an LLC is to have one of its owners with a SSN or ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) apply for the EIN. If, however, no owner has a SSN or ITIN it becomes more complicated. Most of the literature will tell you that at least one owner will need to have a SSN or ITIN and if no owner has an SSN or ITIN, then one owner will need to apply for an ITIN (6-10 week turnaround time). If you have the time, this is the way to go. If not, you can have a business attorney with experience in this arena (like Sam Mollaei) get your EIN for you.

ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) Info

The ITIN is not to be confused with the EIN. The ITIN is also issued by the IRS and is also a nine digit number. ITINs always start the number 9 (format is 9XX-XX-XXXX). However, the ITIN was created for tax purposes for individuals who are not eligible to have an SSN, such as foreign nationals, so that they can pay the taxes they are legally required to pay from their earned income. ITINs do not provide legal status or work authorization. Applicants must fill out a W-7 and submit it to the IRS. It takes 6-10 weeks to get an ITIN.

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