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).

Many business owners and employees wonder about the differences between the Federal Employer Tax ID number (EIN) and the individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).


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 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.


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.

The ITIN is needed by many non-U.S. residents who form a Delaware corporation or LLC. 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.

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?

ALI said: Sunday, June 14, 2020

I am an alien resident in the US, i am eligible stay in US but still don't have SSN, i made a personal company and have now EIN, can i use my company to work as subcontractor in the field of transportation and construction or other fields or not.

HBS Staff replied: Monday, June 15, 2020

With a Delaware company, you can operate legal business activities anywhere in the world, including contracting with other parties. However, we cannot advise on other factors, such as your immigration status, that may affect your eligibility to engage in that particular relationship.

dennis shostle said: Friday, May 1, 2020

I just purchased a cafe I geeked out for a EIN but don’t know if I needed a TIN instead. Could you please let me know what I need

HBS Staff replied: Monday, May 4, 2020

A TIN (Tax Identification Number) is just another term for EIN. An ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) is typically used by individuals who do not have a U.S. social security number. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

Nery Garcia said: Monday, June 10, 2019

I create an LLC with you, and you helped me get my EIN, I went to different branchs of diffrent banks in the Us trying to open a business bank account but they told me I cannot open a business bank account because I am non us resident. wells fargo asked me for the ITIN, my question is: I am already paying taxes to delaware and the IRS with my EIN, if I get the ITIN, do I have to pay another tax for that? thanks for your answer

HBS Staff replied: Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nery, for this question we recommend you speak with a tax professional. Unfortunately, we do not provide service for ITIN and are unable to answer your question.

Darlene Ellen Smith said: Friday, April 26, 2019

I applied for an EIN number and I received it online yesterday and printed it out however I forgot to apply for it as LLC. What can I do to correct it so it will be under LLC.

HBS Staff replied: Monday, April 29, 2019


[Update: Please contact the IRS directly if you need to make a change to the document you filed with them already.]

Darlene, typically the first step of the process is to form the LLC then build off it from there. If you have obtained the EIN number already, we can help to form the LLC, we would just need this completed www.delawareinc.com/order, if the name is available to be formed we will file your new LLC right away!


AMAZOKAD said: Saturday, March 2, 2019

Hello I am not an American resident. I created an offshore LLC company. I am the owner and I have my EIN. I want to open a bank account in the United States without moving. if I understand correctly the bank will ask me next to my EIN the ITIN. My question is this: since I have the EIN it means that the IRS has already created an ITIN for me just enough to ask. Or do I have to fill out another form specifically for the ITIN? Cdt OKAD MARKET

HBS Staff replied: Monday, March 4, 2019

The ITIN is not a number that is automatically generated when the EIN number is obtained. A number of our clients have used Seaford Management LLC to obtain their ITIN. Seaford Management LLC is a Certifying Acceptance Agent with the IRS, and they can file your application to obtain an ITIN number. If you have any questions about the ITIN, or would like to get an ITIN, you can email Seaford Management LLC or call them at (302) 990-9003.

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