When forming a new Delaware entity, a commonly asked question is: what is part of the public record? A Delaware LLC
or Corporation filed through Delaware requires very little information to appear on founding documents for the State’s public record. One of the reasons that Delaware is so popular for forming a company is that minimal information is part of the public record
Since clients often need to obtain an EIN (also known as the Tax Id Number) from the IRS when forming their company, they often wonder if the IRS makes owner information public at the federal level.
When obtaining the EIN number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), detailed information is required to process the application. An SS-4 form must be completed and submitted to the IRS in order to generate the Federal Tax ID number.
You are required to answer several questions in order to complete the SS-4 application. The IRS releases minimal information to the public and takes seriously the privacy and confidentiality of personal and business tax-related information, including business identification information. A Responsible Party
, an officer of a corporation, partner in a partnership, or general partner of a limited partnership, for example, can retrieve a lost EIN, only after meeting various verification requirements. No one can access the EIN of another entity through as simple call or email.
Is there a public database of company EINs?
There is no database of EINs available to the public from the IRS or any other agency. Some websites offer a database of EINs, but these include EINs obtained from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings for public companies, inadvertent disclosures in regulatory filings or lawsuits, or the company itself. Short of finding documents that are poorly secured or discarded there isn’t a way to find a company’s EIN or EIN-related info.
Certain nonprofit, tax-exempt entities are required to file publicly-available returns or make tax filings publicly available which exposes the EIN.
Information about the IRS policies regarding privacy and confidentiality are available at the pages below, as a part of what the IRS calls the Taxpayer Bill of Rights:
When will the IRS release company or taxpayer information?
If desired, a taxpayer can voluntarily disclose aspects of their tax returns though filing a form (Form 4506
) with the IRS, designating a third party to receive the information selected on the Form. Disclosure of the tax returns or portions of it are often required by banks when obtaining a loan and in other situations.
The IRS has information sharing agreements which limit the circumstances under which other agencies can obtain taxpayer information or other IRS-maintained records.
The IRS shares information with federal and state law enforcement agencies only in response to a court order, and law enforcement agencies are very limited in how they can use or disclose such information.
Outside of the law enforcement context, the IRS only discloses information as needed to administer the tax system.
To summarize, the information collected for obtaining an EIN number is not available to the general public. You can rest assured that there is no public IRS database, where your information can be retrieved.
Feel free to reach out with any questions about the formation process or obtaining of an EIN number: it is our pleasure to assist.
*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 sourceâ€™s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.