Establishing your business in the U.S. is not just about setting up an entity. To begin business operations, you need to set up a bank account, register for taxes, and be ready to hire employees. None of these activities are possible without an Employee Identification Number (“EIN”).
So, what is an EIN?:
An EIN (also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number), is used to identify a business entity. This is a unique nine-digit number that you use when filing taxes for your U.S. business. The EIN is as important for your company as a Social Security number is for a U.S. citizen or resident.
As a foreign investor, you will have to register for an EIN in the following specific situations:
- Establishing a corporation and any entity taxed as a corporation
- Any business entity with which you will hire employees
- If you are acquiring or merging with a U.S. business.
Without an EIN You Are Standing Still:
Speed is important when entering the U.S. market. Failing to consider the EIN registration in your timeline can create a bottleneck in fully starting your US business.
Reason 1: An EIN is needed for tax purposes and is used in all tax matters with the US tax authority called the Internal Revenue Service, more commonly referred to as the IRS
Reason 2: An EIN is needed to open a U.S. bank account.
Reason 3: An EIN is required to establish payroll and apply for Health Benefits
As you can see, without an EIN your U.S. business is going nowhere, fast!
Getting an EIN as a foreign-owned U.S. entity
You must form your business before getting an EIN. The IRS will ask for your business formation date and legal business name.
There are a few ways of applying for an EIN:
a) Online application
b) Fax application
c) Mail application
d) Telephone application
The online application process is available for all entities whose principal business, office or agency, or legal residence (in the case of an individual), is located in the United States or U.S. Territories. Having said that, the person applying online must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number which is one of the following:
a. Social Security Number (SSN)
b. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
c. Employer Identification Number (EIN).
The ITIN is an individual tax number for non-US residents. If an employee or officer in the business listed in the Operating Agreement of the entity has an SSN or ITIN, then you can use that individual to quickly obtain the EIN number. However, without such a person, foreign-owned US entities must file Form SS-4 which is the Application for Employer Identification Number. This can be done by mail or tax with the IRS. It is just a waiting game. Generally, it takes two weeks, but we have seen it stretch to as long as 10 weeks in rare situations so this application should be submitted as soon as possible!
A full US Business Establishment through weConnect’s US Market Entry Solution
weConnect provides a complete market entry solution into the US including Entity Establishment, EIN application, Bank Account Opening, Accounting System & Process Setup, Payroll, Benefit Underwriting, and Tax Compliance Planning and Returns.
EIN application is a standard process within the weConnect service scope. It seems like something so important would never go missing, but often, the fragmented nature of the US professional service market leaves clients with a newly formed entity but without an EIN application made. We do not want this to happen to you. In order for you to be ready for commercial activities, hiring, and any tax filings that may be due we ensure the EIN application is made as soon as possible. With weConnect you can leave it to us to establish and operate your US business efficiently.