An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns to employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profit associations, trusts, estates of decedents, government agencies, individuals, and other business entities.
On February 22, 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau issued a final rule (Federal Register Notice, Vol. 75, No. 34) amending the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) to eliminate the requirement to report a Social Security Number (SSN) as an identification number when registering to file and filing electronic export information in the Automated Export System or AESDirect. The final rule was implemented to ensure that the United States Principal Party in Interest’s (USPPI) or U.S. authorized agent’s SSN is protected in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act), Title 15, United States Code (U.S.C.), section 552a.
To file export information via the AES, an EIN must be submitted (15 CFR §30.6(a) (iii)). If the USPPI or the U.S. authorized agent residing in or having an office in the United States does not have an EIN, the USPPI or authorized agent must obtain an EIN from IRS. In addition, U.S. exporting companies must use an EIN to complete its profile, however, may also use its Dun and Bradstreet number to complete future submissions.
Individuals applying for an EIN may do so under the Sole Proprietor category, even if they are not starting a business. The EIN will only be used for government reporting purposes unless it is assigned for one of the reasons mentioned above. It can easily be obtained free of charge from the IRS by applying online, by fax, postal service, or by calling the IRS toll-free on (800) 829-4933. For purposes of registering or filing in the AES or AESDirect, a resident of the United States must use its EIN for identification purposes and the information entered into AES or AESDirect is not disclosed to the IRS.
Clicking on the links below will open a new browser window that will guide you to the IRS webpage on How to Apply for an EIN: