EIN vs ITIN: What's the Difference?

ein vs itinThere are many numbers that are used to identify ourselves and our corporations or LLCs, such as a Social Security number, driver's license number, passport number, DUNS number and EIN (Employer Identification Number).

Two of these numbers, the Federal Employer Tax ID number (EIN) and the individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) are central to the formation process for your Delaware business. Let's dive into the key difference between an EIN and an ITIN.

What Is an EIN?

The Federal Tax ID Number, known as an EIN, is an identification number used by the IRS to administer tax laws. Employer Identification Numbers are used to identify an entity to the IRS, banks and other businesses.

Think of this number as the social security number for a business. The EIN is typically needed to operate your business in the United States, do banking in the United States, hire employees and file taxes with the IRS.

A couple commonly asked questions regarding the EIN application:


What is a 'responsible party', as required on the ss4 form?

The responsible party must be an individual. For a Corporation, the responsible party is an officer of the company and for an LLC, the responsible party is an owner or member of the company. 

As my registered agent, is Harvard Business Services’ address, the address of my company?

The address of your company is not Harvard Business Services’ address. The IRS requires a physical business address for your company, even if it is based outside of Delaware and the U.S. Also be prepared to provide the IRS with a brief description of the nature of your business. You have up to 50 characters including spaces for this field.

We can help you obtain an EIN for an existing company or form a Delaware company and obtain an EIN.

Non-U.S. residents, please note that once you submit your EIN order, you will be required to provide a copy of the passport or government-issued ID for the person listed as the responsible party.

What is an ITIN?

The individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) is a tax number only available to certain non-U.S. residents, resident aliens, their spouses and dependents who are not able to obtain a social security number (SSN). ITINs always start with a "9" and are typically formatted like a Social Security number: 9xx-xx-xxxx.

Forming a Delaware corporation or LLC as a non-resident is perfectly acceptable when the foreign individual or group applies for an ITIN. If there is a tax filing requirement with the IRS, an ITIN is needed.

For example, if a company has U.S. source income and profits or losses that flow through to the member or shareholder, owners typically need to obtain an ITIN in order to complete a tax filing with the IRS.

ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and non-resident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.

Do you need help getting your ITIN? You can obtain an ITIN Number by completing Form W-7 and mailing it to the IRS. Alternatively, you can contact one of the ITIN acceptance agents listed by the IRS for assistance. There are agents available within the U.S. as well many countries internationally.

Make sure you know the difference between an EIN and an ITIN before you form your next corporation.

Next: Tax IDs for Non-U.S. Citizens


*Disclaimer*: Harvard Business Services, Inc. is neither a law firm nor an accounting firm and, even in cases where the author is an attorney, or a tax professional, nothing in this article constitutes legal or tax advice. This article provides general commentary on, and analysis of, the subject addressed. We strongly advise that you consult an attorney or tax professional to receive legal or tax guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Any action taken or not taken based on this article is at your own risk. If an article cites or provides a link to third-party sources or websites, Harvard Business Services, Inc. is not responsible for and makes no representations regarding such source’s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.

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There are 19 comments left for EIN vs ITIN: What's the Difference?

Abdullah Rasheed Khan said: Sunday, October 17, 2021

Hi Thanks for this informative article. Can you please help me to understand. If I open an LLC company in DELWARE as a foreigner. Do i have to obtain an ITIN also ? I have a Single Member LLC. If I use any payment gateway on my company like Stripe or paypal, Do they ask me ITIN number also ? Or only EIN number is enough ? Please advise.

HBS Staff replied: Monday, October 18, 2021

Hi Abdullah, While we can help form your Delaware LLC, we cannot provide tax or accounting advice to the operational side of your business. It would be best to contact an accountant or tax attorney for your next steps after forming your LLC. 

Sabrina said: Thursday, June 24, 2021

Although I'm a single member LLC, the banks insist on me having an EIN in order to open a business bank account. Any suggestions? Secondly, I've been wondering what's the point of having a LLC if I have to use my personal SSN?

HBS Staff replied: Thursday, June 24, 2021

Hi Sabrina, banks often require EINs to identify your business without using your personal SSN. This way, if someone asks you for your company identifier, you are not supplying your SSN to anyone who inquires. The LLC protects you from personal liability. 

best college paper writing service said: Monday, January 25, 2021

Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always useful to read contet from other writers and use something from other sites. 

HBS Staff replied: Friday, January 29, 2021

Glad to hear you learn something new and found our article to be informative.

MOHAMME ZAYED said: Thursday, December 31, 2020

Hello, I am outside the United States and have not visited before. All I want is trying to understand how to open a Delaware LLC. My goals are not to resell in the United States. I did not understand what I should have in this regard. Do I need To ITIN or EIN

HBS Staff replied: Tuesday, January 5, 2021

You do not have to live in, or even visit, the state of Delaware in order to form a Delaware company. Other than residents of restricted countries (Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria), anyone can form a Delaware company and operate lawful business activities from anywhere in the world.

A SSN or ITIN is not a requirement to form the company with Delaware or to obtain the EIN from the IRS. This will explain in detail           https://www.delawareinc.com/before-forming-your-company/delaware-company-formations-for-non-residents/

Eddy said: Tuesday, December 22, 2020

I am not a USA citizen, so I report or filled taxes using an ITIN #. I want to start a SMLLC, I know I can get an EIN # since I have ITIN #. My question is how do I filled taxes for the EIN? whiting my personal taxes? Or do I filled it separately? Please help

HBS Staff replied: Monday, December 28, 2020

Unfortunately we cannot advise you on how to file your taxes. It is possible to file for your LLC on your personal returns, but we recommend you speak with an accountant to determine the best strategy for your specific situation.

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