Employer Identification Number for an LLC
A multi-member LLC is automatically treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes and must have a federal tax identification number (EIN) issued to the LLC in the LLC's name. Individual members do not need an EIN for themselves.
Single-Person LLC (SMLLC)
A single-member LLC with employees is required to have an EIN in the LLC's name. The LLC's EIN number is used when paying employment taxes and filing employment tax returns. A single-member LLC with a qualified pension plan is also required to have an EIN in the LLC's name.
A single-member LLC with no employees and no qualified pension plan is not required to have an EIN in the LLC's name. The owner of such a single-member LLC may use his social security on tax documents.
If you obtained an EIN in your own name when you started your business, then subsequently changed your business's legal status to an LLC and hired employees or set up a qualified pension plan, you'll have two EINs:
- One in your own name when you started your business and had no employees
- A second in the name of the LLC, which was required as a result of hiring employees (or setting up a qualified pension plan).
Schedule C and Employment Tax Returns
If you operate a single-member LLC and have two EINs, one in your own name from when you started your business without employees and one in the name of the LLC when you changed the legal status of your business to an LLC and hired employees, only enter the EIN that's in your own name on Schedule C, line D. The EIN in the name of the LLC is not entered on Schedule C. It is used on employment tax returns and when paying employment taxes.
If you issue Form 1099-MISC to independent contractors and have an EIN in your own name, enter your EIN in the payer's box.
If you don't have an EIN in your own name, it may be a good idea to get one to help prevent identity theft. By having an EIN issued to you in your name as a sole proprietor, you can enter this number in the payer's box on Form 1099-MISC instead of your social security number.
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- Return to the Tax Basics for Startups Table of Contents to find related links.