New requirement applies to any business seeking a tax ID number

IRS offers data security tips during National Small Business Week

WASHINGTON — During National Small Business Week, the Internal Revenue Service wants small business taxpayers and the self-employed to know that, starting May 13, an important change will affect the way it issues employer identification numbers, or EINs.

With identity theft on the rise in the business community, the agency also offered business taxpayers tips and resources for protecting their data from theft.  

National Small Business Week is May 5-11. For more than 50 years, the week has recognized the important contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

EINs and responsible parties

Beginning May 13, only individuals with tax identification numbers – either a Social Security number (SSN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) – may request an employer identification number. This new requirement, which was first announced by the IRS in March, will provide greater security to the EIN process by requiring an individual to be the responsible party and will also improve transparency.

An EIN is a nine-digit tax identification number assigned to sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, employee retirement plans and other entities for tax-filing and reporting purposes.

The change prohibits entities from using their own EINs to obtain additional EINs. The new requirement applies to both the paper Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, and online EIN applications.