If your LLC has more than one member or if you are going to hire employees, you’ll need an EIN. But these aren’t the only factors. The IRS offers a test to determine if you need an EIN:
Do you have employees?
Do you operate your business as a corporation or a partnership?
Do you file any of these tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms?
Do you withhold taxes on income, other than wages, paid to a non-resident alien?
Do you have a Keogh plan?
Are you involved with any of the following types of organizations?
Trusts, except certain grantor-owned revocable trusts, IRAs, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Returns
Real estate mortgage investment conduits
If you answer yes to these questions, your business needs an EIN.
Benefits of Having an EIN
There are several reasons to get an EIN, even if you’re not required to have one.
Opening a business bank account is often required, commonly creating a separation between your business and personal finances because your business will be identified by creditors and the IRS by your EIN instead of your social security number.
Also, it helps establish business credit, which will boost your access to financing. And, if you do end up hiring employees in the future, you’ll already have your EIN and be ready to go.
What Do I Need to Get an EIN in California?
According to the IRS:
All EIN applications (mail, fax, electronic) must disclose the name and Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, or EIN) of the true principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, or trustor. This individual or entity, which the IRS will call the ‘responsible party,’ controls, manages or directs the applicant entity and the disposition of its funds and assets. Unless the applicant is a government entity, the responsible party must be an individual (i.e., a natural person), not an entity.
When you fill out the application, you’ll need the following:
Name, title, and Social Security number of managing member or owner
State in which your business is registered
Reason for applying
Main business activity
Closing month of your accounting year
Contact phone number and email
How to Apply for an EIN in California
The application is Form SS-4, and you can submit it via the IRS website. Alternatively, you can print the form and fax or mail it. If you apply online, your EIN will be issued immediately.
There is no cost to obtain an EIN, which never expires.
Register for California Taxes
You also may need to register for business taxes in California.
If you have employees, you’ll need to register for a payroll tax account on the Employment Development Department website. This will register you withholding employment taxes, including state unemployment taxes.