Definition of 147c Letter
If you’re running a business in the United States, chances are you have an Employer Identification Number, or EIN for short. Much like a social security number for an individual, an EIN — sometimes called a Federal Tax Identification Number, or TIN — is a unique numeric identifier that the Internal Revenue Service issues to business entities to track their tax reporting.
Even if you’re a sole proprietor, you can get an EIN and that way you don’t have to put your personal social security number on tax documents (privacy measures are essential these days!). Whether you’re a sole proprietor, a single-member LLC, or a full-blown small business with employees, chances are you’ll want to have an EIN.
If you have an EIN, there’s a decent chance you’ll run into the 147c letter at some point. Never heard of it or not sure how to handle it? Read on for a crash course in the 147c letter.
What is a 147c letter?
Also known as an EIN letter, the 147c letter is a form that a business with an EIN fills out so that a third party (like another company, for example) can verify that business’s EIN. The important thing to note is that this process can only happen with your permission.
In order to give your permission to a third party in order for them to obtain a 147c letter with your company’s EIN, you’ll have to fill out Form 8821 or Form 2848. You’ll also need to give the third party some basic information about your business such as the year it started, your business address, and the like. They’ll need this information to answer the questions that the IRS will ask them before giving them the 147c letter.
If you happened to misplace, forget, or otherwise lose your EIN, the 147c letter is what you’ll need to fill out in order for the IRS to tell you what the number is. Ultimately, the 147c letter is a way for the IRS to tell you or another third party about what your existing EIN is. The 147c letter does not get an EIN made for you — that’s a whole other process!
THE 147C LETTER IS A FORM THAT A BUSINESS WITH AN EIN FILLS OUT SO THAT A THIRD PARTY (LIKE ANOTHER COMPANY, FOR EXAMPLE) CAN VERIFY THAT BUSINESS’S EIN.
How do I get a 147c letter?
There are a few steps to go through to get the letter (it is the IRS, after all). One way is to call the IRS’s Business and Specialty Tax line at 1-800-829-4933 which is generally available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
However, there are often a few other ways that you can find your EIN without having to tangle with the federal government. If you used your EIN to open a bank account or apply for a state-level license, you should be able to get the EIN from the bank or the local state agency. Further, previously filed tax returns will have your EIN on them as would some other IRS documents, so check to see if you have any of that at your disposal.
What information do I need to get a 147c letter?
If you’re looking for a 147c letter from the IRS, you should be prepared to answer security questions in order to access your account. Chances are they’ll ask you for your personal social security number. Then, once you’ve gotten through all the hurdles to prove that you are who you say you are, the IRS will be able to either tell you the number over the phone.
It’s important to know that only those who are authorized to receive your business’s EIN will be able to do so. People who are often authorized to access a business’s EIN include a sole proprietor, a partner or member within a business partnership, a corporate officer, a trustee overseeing a trust, or an executor of an estate.
The IRS can also fax or mail you a copy of the letter if you’d like.
Once I get the letter, what do I need to do?
Nothing! Getting the letter is the goal. If you got a 147c letter because you misplaced your EIN, we advise you to tuck the letter away in a safe place. If you’re using the letter to prove your EIN to a third party, then forward that letter on.
The best thing about the 147c letter is that all the hassle is in getting it. There’s next to nothing that you have to do once you receive one… besides maybe relax after spending a likely annoying amount of time on hold with the IRS if that’s the route you had to go.