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Am I in Trouble if My Accountant Used His SSN to Get My Corporation’s EIN?

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Late last year (see Foreign Company Alert: Obtaining an EIN may be your Biggest Challenge in the U.S.), I wrote about the procedure by which a U.S. entity may obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) when its foreign owner lacks a social security number (SSN). I recently answered an Avvo question about what to do when the specified procedure is not followed.

The questioner’s accountant had used his (the accountant’s) SSN to obtain an EIN online for his client’s corporation because the client’s foreign owner had no SSN. The client suspected – correctly – that this was not the right thing to do (the Internal Revenue Service “does not authorize” this action).

The good news is that the IRS has established a procedure for correctly identifying the corporation’s “responsible party”, i.e., the individual or entity that controls, manages, or directs the entity and the disposition of the entity?s funds and assets (see Updating Incorrect Business Entity Information). The business owner can provide this information himself; there is no need to hire an attorney or an accountant for this purpose.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law? +1 510 547-0545? dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

Business Entities, Tax
  1. 1/9/2012 | 10:58 am Permalink

    Dear Dana,
    thank you so much for this great page. It is the best available information in the www for an alien who wants to form a company in the U.S. !!!
    Best regards

  2. 7/3/2012 | 8:22 pm Permalink

    Dear Dana,

    I found your website and blog with very informative information.

    I am currently living in Canada not yet Canadian citizen but hold B1 visa. I do have a SSN # as I worked in US before on a H1.
    I was thinking about setting up an online business that I can handle from outside US and my US partner can handle the delivery procedure.
    It seems like forming up LLC, with only my name, is not a problem but while applying for EIN for the Corporation, there will be an issue, unless the US partner agrees to be the Principal Officer.
    Can you please suggest if there is a way, I can be the only owner in LLC and still be able to apply for EIN.



  3. 7/16/2012 | 10:03 am Permalink

    Dear Dana,

    I am glad to find your blog. It is the most helpful website.

    I am forming a LLC whose only member is a foreign corporation. They designated a manager who is also a foreign citizen. This manager will apply for L1 visa to work in the U.S.. Who should be the responsible party in the application for EIN? The foreign corporation or the prospective manager?

    Thank you very much.


    • 7/16/2012 | 10:34 am Permalink

      The responsible party must be an individual, rather than an entity.

  4. 10/8/2012 | 11:00 am Permalink

    I am a canadian citizen and opend the LLC BASED in Indiana.
    I want to open a bank account and they are asking Tax ID #(ein#).
    I am buying real estate income property.

    I was student in USA 12 years ago and had the SSN, at that time. it was valid for work only with authorization at that time.I left the USA 10 YEARS AGO. AND THEN WENT TO CANADA AND BECAME CITIZEN, FROM LAST 8 YEARS.
    Can I use that old SSN to get the EIN # FOR MY NEW LLC.?

    IF NOT, CAN I get the EIN without SSN or without ITIN number?


    • 10/8/2012 | 11:26 am Permalink

      Your SSN is yours for the rest of your life. You should be able to use it to obtain an EIN.

  5. 10/9/2012 | 4:55 am Permalink

    thank you very much for the reply.



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