TIN vs EIN

    by Benjamin Aronson
Updated December 3, 2021

TIN, EIN, SSN, ITIN, and FEIN…. Are there any more?

Unfortunately, there’s a ton of misleading information online, so if you’re forming an LLC, paying taxes, or just had enough of not knowing the difference, this article is for you.

We are going to go over the main Tax Identification Numbers that could relate to you and your situation so stay tuned.

Is a Tax ID the Same as an EIN?

A Tax ID or Tax Identification Number can be an Employer Identification Number (EIN) but it isn’t necessary that specific ID.

What do we mean?

There are a handful of Tax IDs issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Admissions (SSA). An EIN is just one of the many Tax IDs. It could be that the authorities are asking for a different ID altogether!

With that said, a Tax ID is not the same as an EIN.

A Tax ID or a Tax Identification Number (TIN) is an umbrella term that “houses” all of the IDs for Tax identification purposes. This term covers the following types of identification numbers and some:

  • ITIN
  • EIN
  • FEIN
  • SSN

In the sections below we are going to break down each term into small pieces so that you can really understand what the authorities want from you.

The days of not understanding Tax IDs are over, let’s dive in

What is a Tax Identification Number (TIN)?

If you are setting up a sole proprietor, LLC, or corporation you’ll need to have Tax Identification Numbers on hand.

A TIN is a general term for an Identification Number that is issued by a U.S State Authority for Tax purposes.

There are many different Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) and therefore, don’t think of any number as the single identification number, rather a general term of Tax IDs.

An EIN, ITIN, ATIN, PTIN, and SSN are all different Tax Identification Numbers for example.

The IRS who is the governing body in charge of US Taxation Issues the following IDs:

  • EIN
  • ITIN
  • ATIN
  • PTIN

The SSA on the other hand issues the infamous Social Security Number (SSN).

What is Payers TIN?

When a legal form request to fill out a Payers TIN it can get a bit confusing.

As mentioned above, a TIN is one of a few potential IDs. With that understood, it really depends what form you are filing for the government authorities.

A Payers TIN is a specific taxpayers identification card which can be an EIN if you have an LLC, or a foreign LLC, an ITIN if you are a non US citizen with a business in the United States or it can simply be your SSN.

You will need a specific ID based on the document that you are filing.

Quick tip: If you are stuck with a form and are unsure with Tax ID to use, simply head over to the IRS website and look for the instructions on filing the specific form on hand. Everything will be written in the instructions there.

What is an ITIN Number?

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a Tax ID issued to U.S and non-US citizens that can’t get an SSN and need to file a tax report. If you are a non-U.S citizen looking to form an LLC in the United States you will need an ITIN in order to file an annual tax report.

An ITIN is a nine-digit number sequence and follows the following format 123-45-6789.

If you are looking to obtain an ITIN you can either hire a professional business incorporation service, hire a US accountant for your business, or DIY online by filing form W-7.

ITIN vs SSN

An ITIN and SSN can get confusing as they are both nine digits and both issued for the same purpose, to keep track of taxpayers.

An SSN is specifically for US citizens and permanent residents. Therefore if you’re not a US citizen then you will not qualify for an SSN.

The format of an SSN is displayed in the following manner: 123-45-6789.

An ITIN is issued to US citizens who are not eligible to get an SSN and non-US citizens that must file a tax return.

Like an SSN, an ITIN is nine digits and presented in the following sequence: 123-45-6789.

What Does EIN Stand For?

An EIN stands for Employer Identification Number and it is issued by the IRS to business owners (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp).

This business ID number is used to identify companies in the US for tax purposes, but it is also needed when opening a bank account, applying for loans, getting permits, and more.

You can file on the IRS site and get your LLC’s EIN number today.

Note: An EIN and a FEIN are the exact same things, enough getting confused over that misconception (more information on that below).

What Does FEIN Stand For?

A FEIN stands for Federal Employer Identification Number. A government form may request for your FEIN but note that this is the same number as an EIN.

Is a FEIN and an EIN the Same?

A FEIN and an EIN are the exact same number! Those are two terms that mean the exact same thing.

Both those terms are synonyms and refer to the same identification number.

FEIN vs EIN

As mentioned, there is a lot of misconception when it comes down to those two terms (That’s why we went over this numerous times). An EIN and a FEIN have the same meaning and are the same number of digits.

Some people simply throw the word “federal” in front of the phrase, but they are talking about the exact same thing.

FEIN vs TIN

A TIN covers all of the Tax IDs, and a FEIN is a specific ID provided by the IRS. A FEIN is a nine-digit identification number issued to businesses in the US by the IRS.

There are many TINs available, but a FEIN is specifically connected to businesses and can only be applied for once a company is registered in the US.

In short, a FEIN is a type of TIN but TIN isn’t a type of FEIN.

EIN vs SSN

An EIN is an Identification number for a business issued by the Internal Revenue Service where an SSN is an identification number for an individual taxpayer issued by the Social Security Administration.

These are both terms that essentially do the same thing, identify taxpayers, yet they identify different “beings”.

ITIN vs EIN

Both ITIN and an EIN are nine-digit number sequences that identify taxpayers and both IDs are issued but the IRS.

The key differences between the two are pretty cut out and simple, ITINs are for identifying taxpayers who are not eligible to get an SSN whereas EINs are specifically for businesses such as LLCs, partnerships, and Corporations.

What Does SSN Stand For?

An SSN stands for Social Security Number, and it is probably the most important Tax IDs issued to U.S citizens.

SSN Meaning

The meaning of an SSN is simple, the U.S authorities wanted to have an identification number in order to track income for tax purposes.

The Social Security Number was created back in 1935 and the initial intention of the ID number was to track earnings and provide benefits. This was all a part of the New Deal, a series of economic projects introduced by President Franklin D Roosevelt.

Tax ID vs SSN

A Tax ID is an umbrella term for all Tax related identification numbers, whether for individuals or businesses.

An SSN on the other hand is pertaining to a unique set of numbers given to US citizens.

Sources:

  1. (IRS) Taxpayer Identification Numbers 
  2. (IRS) Form SS-4
  3. (IRS) Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
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