WASHINGTON — During National Small Business Week, the Internal Revenue Service wants small business taxpayers and the self-employed to know that, starting May 13, an important change will affect the way it issues employer identification numbers, or EINs.
With identity theft on the rise in the business community, the agency also offered business taxpayers tips and resources for protecting their data from theft.
EINs and responsible parties
Beginning May 13, only individuals with tax identification numbers – either a Social Security number (SSN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) – may request an employer identification number. This new requirement, which was first announced by the IRS in March, will provide greater security to the EIN process by requiring an individual to be the responsible party and will also improve transparency.An EIN is a nine-digit tax identification number assigned to sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, employee retirement plans and other entities for tax-filing and reporting purposes.
Individuals are not the only ones who need to protect their identities. Businesses and other organizations, especially trusts, estates and partnerships, can also be victims of identity theft. For example, criminals may file Forms 1120 (corporations), 1120S (S corporations) or Schedules K-1 in their names. Last year, 2,450 businesses reported that they were victims of tax-related identity theft, a 10-percent increase over 2017.
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