The Internal Revenue Service has an online wizard that allows people to apply for and receive an employer identification number (EIN) for a company in a 5 – 10 minute data entry session. Companies need an EIN to open a bank account and file federal tax returns. See our EIN online wizard video that shows how to complete the online application.
Usually the online EIN wizard works great and people can quickly get an EIN for a newly formed company. Unfortunately the online wizard sometimes rejects an EIN application because of “Reference Number 101,” which usually means the company’s name is the same as or too similar to another company’s name. The wizard displays this message:
“We are unable to provide you with an EIN. We apologize for the inconvenience, but based on the information provided we are unable to provide you with an EIN through this online assistant. Please call 1-800-829-4933 for assistance. When outside the US, call 267-941-1099. TTY/TDD: 1-800-829-4059. Please have your information readily available, and mention reference number 101.”
If you get the above message then your company must apply for its EIN by faxing its SS-4 application to the IRS at 855-641-6935. After getting this rejection message we’ve called the IRS and been told that it will be 45 days before the IRS issues the EIN.
Note: A one member LLC or an LLC owned only by a married couple as community property can use the social security number of one of the members to open the LLC’s bank account.
If getting your new company’s EIN immediately instead of in 45 days you have two options: (1) go with your desired name and take a chance that the EIN application will not be rejected, or (2) make the name of your company unique and a name that no other company will have.