A federal Employer Identification Number–commonly abbreviated EIN–is the tax ID number the Internal Revenue Service issues to employers. Any employer must have an EIN, including businesses, nonprofit organizations, and state or local government agencies. This widespread use makes the EIN a handy reference number for finding information about organizations. You can often look up an EIN for free, although occasionally you may have to resort to a fee-based database service. If you just want to know your employer&rsquo;s EIN, you can find it on your W2 Form.
1. Look up an EIN number for a publicly traded company on their Investor Relations website. Most have an SEC Filings page. On the filings page, open any Securities and Exchange Commission filing document. The EIN must be listed on the first page of the document.
2. Utilize the SEC EDGAR online Forms and Filings database. This is a free alternative you can use when a company doesn&rsquo;t post its SEC filings online. The EDGAR database contains the SEC filings of all publicly traded corporations.
3. Subscribe to an online commercial database service if you expect to look up EIN numbers on a regular basis. For example, Dun &amp; Bradstreet&rsquo;s Selectory service lists some 14 million EINs as of 2010.
4. Look up EIN numbers using a pay-as-you-go database service. Database providers, including KnowX, give you the option of paying for only the searches you perform instead of having to subscribe to their service. This is a good option if you only need to find a few EIN numbers.
5. Check commercial EIN database providers for special offers. Many allow you to make a few searches for free to motivate you to try their service. This is a good way to make sure an EIN database provides all the information you need on businesses and other organizations.