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What is the employer identification number?

An employer identification number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS. The best place to look is in Box b of your W-2 form, located right above your employer's name and address (or in some cases, right below). The EIN will be a 9-digit number with a dash after the second digit, like this: 00-0000000 (by the way, don't use this fictitious EIN).

If you don't have your W-2, here are some other places you can look. You probably won't find your EIN on your paystub or paycheck.

  • Last year's W-2, assuming you're working for the same employer and kept Copy C (for employee records) with your tax return paperwork.
  • Your employer's payroll, human resources, or accounting department.
  • Online, but only if your company is publicly-traded (has a stock symbol).
    • Search for your company's annual report (10-K filing), e.g. "Amalgamated Conglomerated 10-K," "ACME annual report," etc.
    • The EIN will be labeled IRS Employer Identification No. and is usually on the first page.
    • This might not work if your employer has multiple EINs.
  • Public court documents, if your employer went bankrupt. Oftentimes the EIN will be on the docket sheet along with their name and address.