Having obtained a large number of Employer Identification Numbers for clients over the past few years, I have complied a list of potential causes for rejected online EIN applications.
Problems with the Responsible Party
Every EIN application requires a responsible party name and matching tax ID number. Often, this will be an individual and their social security number, but sometimes the responsible party is another business with another EIN number. The IRS will not process online EIN applications if the responsible party is an entity with an EIN previously obtained through the internet. In other words, unless the responsible party is an individual with a social security number or an entity with an EIN that was not obtained through the internet, the online EIN application will always return an error. If the first two numbers of the entity's EIN Number begin with 20, 26, 27, 45, 46, or 47, that EIN number was obtained through the online EIN application. Accordingly, that entity can never be a responsible party for another online EIN application; you will have to apply via fax or list another responsible party on the online application, such as the individual who owns the entity. If the responsible party's EIN begins with 30, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38, 61, 80, 90, or 91, that EIN number was not obtained through the online EIN application, and that entity should be able to be a responsible party on another online EIN application.
Limit of one EIN per responsible party per day
The IRS will only issue an EIN to one responsible party per day. This limitation applies to all requests for EINs, whether through the online EIN application or by phone, fax, or mail. If an EIN has been issued to any entity by any application method on a particular day, the responsible party on that EIN application must wait until the next day before being the responsible party on another EIN application.
Conflict with the entity name
A rejected EIN application indicating Reference Number 101 has a name conflict. The IRS requires a unique entity name before it will issue an EIN, similar to how the secretary of state requires a unique entity name within that state before Articles or Certificates of Formation may be successfully filed. However, because the IRS is a federal agency issuing EINs for entities in all 50 states, it potentially checks for duplicate entity names across multiple states. There are numerous references to a state on the online EIN application, such as the physical location state, mailing address state, and the state where the Articles are or will be filed. This is the most difficult error to fix and may require the application to be mailed or faxed; include a copy of the filed formation document (Articles of Organization, etc.) as I have had IRS agents request a copy in these situations.
The IRS website isn't working
Reference Numbers 109 and 110 indicate technical problems and an EIN may still be obtainable using the exact same information that resulted in the error. The error might result from too many people trying to obtain an EIN at the same time. Try again later, or try closing and reopening the browser, using a different browser, using a different computer, clearing cookies, restarting the computer, or adjusting your security settings.
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