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Tax ID Numbers Or FEIN?

Numerous callers each year contact this Department inquiring about a “Tax ID Number” and what agency specifically issues it. The Tax ID number is actually called a “Federal EIN” (Federal Employer Identification Number).  Often the reason why people need the identification number is because they have been advised by a bank that no account will be opened without it, even if it is requested by a non-profit organization.

This Department is the initial step but only one-third of the process for obtaining the FEIN number and making the other necessary filings.  The business or the non-profit organization should first file the formation documents (an incorporation, LLC, etc.) with this Department. Individuals or businesses without any employees who want to operate as a “sole proprietorship” still must register with this Department if they wish to open a bank account.  This Department will issue its own identification number (usually beginning with a “D”, “F”, “W”, “L”, or “Z”) but this is not the FEIN number required for bank accounts.

The second step where one actually obtains the FEIN number is to contact the Internal Revenue Service.  The IRS expects the entity to be formed with this Department before applying for the FEIN number.  The IRS has enhanced the speed of this process so that one can obtain a FEIN in a matter of minutes via the telephone at 1-800-829-4933 (from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.) or the IRS website at www.irs.gov/businesses/index.html.  The necessary IRS Form to be completed is Form SS-4. This form and its instructions can be viewed and printed via the IRS website. Also try Employer ID Numbers (FEIN) page: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98350,00.html

The third step in the necessary filings process is to file a “Combined Central Registration” with the Maryland Comptroller’s Office.  This form from the Comptroller’s Office will ask the filer to list both the FEIN number and this Department’s internal entity filing number.  This Central Registration Form of the Comptroller’s Office deals with Maryland taxes owed, including employee withholding taxes. The Comptroller’s Office may be reached at 410-767-1313 from the Baltimore area, 1-800-492-1751 from elsewhere in Maryland, or via the internet at www.comp.state.md.us.

Department of Assessments & Taxation business forms: http://www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/sdatforms.html#entity

MD Comptroller of the Treasury's website: http://business.marylandtaxes.com/default.asp

Internal Revenue Service (IRS): www.irs.gov/businesses/index.html.