Beginning May 13, the IRS will accept employer identification number (EIN) applications only from individual taxpayers who have either a Social Security number or an individual taxpayer identification number as the responsible party on the EIN application, the IRS announced on Wednesday (IR-2019-58).
The IRS says it is changing its procedure for obtaining EINs, which are the nine-digit tax identification numbers assigned to sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, employee retirement plans, and other entities for tax filing and reporting purposes, to provide greater security.
The new procedure means that entities will not be able to use their own EIN to obtain additional EINs. The IRS explained that generally the responsible party for an entity is the person who owns or controls the entity or who exercises effective control over the entity. In cases where more than one person meets that definition, the entity may decide which individual should be the responsible party. The IRS is making the announcement well before it will be effective so that entities can determine who the responsible person should be.
Only government entities and the military are exempt from the responsible person requirement. However, there is also no change in the rules for tax professionals who are third-party designees and apply for EINs for their clients.
The IRS stated that the new requirement will provide greater security to the EIN process and improve transparency.
— Sally P. Schreiber, J.D., (Sally.Schreiber@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA senior editor.