This post about the cost to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) in the United States is an Advertisement under Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400, Standard 5 (now subject to Chapter 7 of the Rules of Professional Conduct that took effect on November 1, 2018).
Recently I have received many inquiries from foreign owners of new companies in the U.S. They want to know how much it will cost to obtain an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service. This post provides that information. (more…)
One of my foreign clients received a social security number as a child when he and his parents lived in the US for a year. Unfortunately, he could not find his SSN – which would help him obtain an Employer Identification Number for the corporation I was forming. (See Foreign Company Alert: Obtaining an EIN may be your Biggest Challenge in the U.S.)
He asked whether I could help him retrieve his SSN. Here is what I found.
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).
When a foreign company wants to start up in the U.S., it usually creates a separate corporation here so U.S. obligations and liabilities will not flow back to the overseas parent. The U.S. corporation needs a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) – at the very least, to open a bank account, even if the corporation will have no employees in the U.S. In a recent post on its website (Responsible Parties and Nominees), the Internal Revenue Service recently made it more difficult for foreign companies to obtain an EIN.
To obtain an EIN, the corporation typically provides the social security number (SSN) of a “principal officer”. In the past, the IRS was rather vague as to what this term meant, stating that it referred to a “president, vice president, or other principal officer”. So, for example, if the corporation’s overseas president did not have an SSN because s/he never worked in the U.S., the corporation could temporarily appoint as vice president an individual who has an SSN, which the corporation then would use to apply for an EIN.