As simple as the IRS gets
The good news is, with your incorporation paperwork done, this is a one-sheet filing (called Form SS-4) with the IRS. You can find the document with instructions here. The page links to the Internet EIN, which is a real-time system that will generate an EIN for you on the spot.


Note that if you are an LLC, you need to specify your chosen tax designation on the SS-4. Once you have an EIN, you may need to file IRS Form 8832.

If you have filed as an S-corp (or LLC designated as an S-corp), you must file IRS Form 2553 using your EIN within two months of incorporation. This is super-important to protecting your owner tax benefits. (Your accountant will be very impressed that you got this right by yourself.)

If you are not eligible to use the Internet EIN system, you’ll need to fax or mail the completed SS-4. If you have a fax machine or its online equivalent, you can get an EIN faxed back in four business days. If you apply by mail, the estimated processing time is four weeks.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about where you need to change up your financial accounts to apply your EIN.

Set it Up
With your shiny new EIN, you have three key finance tasks: bank account, credit card, W-9. It’s a great excuse to share your success!

Got a banker? Call her now for help.

Once you have an EIN, you’ll want to update your bank account, apply for a credit card, and change out your W-9.

Business banking: let your banker know that you’ve incorporated and need to put your banking under your EIN. Many banks can do this remotely, but it’s a great time to give your banker an update on your growth. She may recommend that you open a completely new account.

Ask about the perks that come with small business banking. You can often get bonus cash or free services that didn’t come with your personal account, like enhanced bill pay and electronic transfers.

Credit card: You’ve been using a designated personal card up to this point. Now, you’ll want a credit card issued to you through the business.

Since you have had some cash flow through your side hustle, you should be able to get at least a small credit line in your business name. However, if you have personal credit issues and are an LLC or S-corp, you may still need to use a prepaid card.

While you’re at your bank, you can ask your banker about available business credit cards, which will save you duplicate paperwork. Or, apply for a small business rewards card like AMEX or one of the Chase Ink cards.

You’ll need to continue to use your designated personal card until you get your business card. Make an expense report for these charges and reimburse yourself from the business.

– Jill James