The transportation industry is swarming with long and confusing acronyms. IFTA, HVUT, IRP, UCR, MC, FMCSA, NY HUT, KYU, and the list goes on.. and on… and on.
One of these pesky three-letter acronyms is E.I.N. You’ve probably heard it bandied about before, but do you have any idea what it is?
The Employer Identification Number, also called the Federal Tax Identification Number, is required for filing many taxes and registrations, including Heavy Vehicle Use Tax. As such, registering for your E.I.N. is one of the first and most important steps for obtaining your own operating authority.
Here’s the bad news. There’s a slew of scams out there, charging outrageous fees for obtaining an E.I.N. But filing for an E.I.N. yourself is completely free. Crazy!
Let’s get educated on the subject together so you can better protect yourself from the scams lurking on the interwebs!
What is an E.I.N.?
The Employer Identification Number is used by the Internal Revenue Service to identify your business. It is a unique 9-digit number used to file heavy vehicle use tax, or any other tax through the IRS. The EIN is also required to register for your International Fuel Tax Agreement license in many states.
The IRS used to accept social security numbers in lieu of EIN’s. However, as of May 2011, SSN’s are no longer allowed. Your return will be rejected without a valid EIN.
When your business is assigned these 9 digits, they’re assigned to the exact business name and address you provide. This is known as “Name Control.” It’s crucial that when filing your HVUT you enter the EIN and the business name exactly as the IRS has it on record. It cannot just be your name, your business’s nickname, or just “what you’re known by around town.”
If your business name and EIN do not match exactly, your return will likely be rejected. If you have an EIN, but forgot your name control, it’s good practice to check with the IRS prior to filing. Call the hotline at 1.800.829.4933 to verify your name control.
But don’t just take my word for it! Listen to the calming tones of Sir Charles Hardy, our fearless Director of Tax Products, in the short video below explain why you need an EIN.
How to Get One- The Right Way and the Wrong Way
There are several ways to apply for the EIN yourself- for free! When filing directly with the IRS, you can apply online (preferred), or via fax or postal mail, and there is no charge. Just be sure you are applying through the IRS website directly, and not on a shady, third-party site.
If you choose to apply online, you must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number, which is a valid Social Security Number of Individual Taxpayer ID. When filing online, you’ll get immediate validation and you’ll be issued the EIN right away. However, there are a few pitfalls to avoid with a freshly-issued EIN, see the segment below on rejection.
If you’re too short on time to file the EIN yourself, there is another way! A safe way that won’t charge you hundreds of dollars and make you wait weeks to receive the EIN. One that won’t steal and sell your information either.
Our friends over at Truck Services of North America specialize in permits, registrations, and tax filings. As a premier processing service (also based in our hometown of Rock Hill, SC!), they’ve helped countless new trucking operations obtain their authority, and they’ve applied for thousands of EIN’s. They’ll take care of your EIN registration completely for just $50, or take care of your entire authority with one of their full-service deluxe packages. Give them a shout at 803.386.0320 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how they can help get your new business off the ground faster.
When you apply for an EIN online, you’ll be issued your unique 9 digit number right away. However, the EIN will not be valid in the E-filing system for at least 10 business days. During this waiting period, the IRS is entering your business information in their system. Until that happens, any tax return, including Form 2290, that you file with this new EIN will be rejected.
If you’ve had a 2290 rejected for an invalid EIN, our Support Heroes can help you correct it and retransmit it.
I Lost My EIN!
If you already have an EIN, but can’t seem to find it, here are a few ways to retrieve your digits.
- 1. If you’ve E-filed with ExpressTruckTax before, your EIN is stored in your account! Simply login and view your business details, or view a previously filed return with your EIN on it!
- 2. Check with a bank or local/state institution you’ve applied for a license with. Both should have your EIN on record.
- 3. Finally, you can always call the IRS hotline, and they’ll give you the EIN over the phone after verifying your identity. The Business & Specialty Tax Line is 1.800.829.4933.
Wherever you are on your EIN journey, the ExpressTruckTax support heroes are always standing by and ready to help! They’ll give you all of the information you need to register your EIN, retrieve a lost EIN, or retransmit a rejected return.
Ring them at 704.234.6005 or send them a message via live chat. For 24/7 assistance, email at email@example.com.
And remember, when giving out information on the internet, be mindful of who you’re giving it to. ExpressTruckTax is a secure, IRS-certified site, and our heroes are a league of highly-trained truck tax pro’s. They won’t steer you wrong!
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