Fixing Problems with Online IRS EIN Applications

Having obtained hundreds of Employer Identification Numbers for clients over the past few years, I have learned a number of remedies for rejected online EIN applications submitted on the IRS's website. Consider the following potential causes:

Every EIN application requires a responsible party name and matching tax ID number. Often, this will be an individual and their social security number, but sometimes the responsible party is another business with another EIN number. The IRS will not process online EIN applications if the responsible party is an entity with an EIN previously obtained through the internet. In other words, unless the responsible party is an individual with a social security number or an entity with an EIN that was not obtained through the internet, the online EIN application will always return an error.

If the first two numbers of the entity's EIN Number begin with 20, 26, 27, 45, 46, or 47, that EIN number was obtained through the online EIN application. Accordingly, that entity can never be a responsible party for another online EIN application; you will have to apply over the phone or list another responsible party on the online application, such as the individual who owns the entity. If the responsible party's EIN begins with 30, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38, 61, 80, 90, or 91, that EIN number was not obtained through the online EIN application, and that entity should be able to be a responsible party on another online EIN application.

The IRS will only issue an EIN to one responsible party per day. This limitation applies to all requests for EINs, whether through the online EIN application or by phone, fax, or mail. If an EIN has been issued to any entity by any application method on a particular day, the responsible party on that EIN application must wait until the next day before being the responsible party on another EIN application.

A rejected EIN application indicating Reference Number 101 has a name conflict. The IRS requires a unique entity name before it will issue an EIN, similar to how the secretary of state requires a unique entity name within that state before Articles or Certificates of Formation may be successfully filed. However, because the IRS is a federal agency issuing EINs for entities in all 50 states, it potentially checks for duplicate entity names across multiple states. There are numerous references to a state on the online EIN application, such as the physical location state, mailing address state, and the state where the Articles are or will be filed.

If all of these state references are the same, the IRS will only check for previously-issued EINs with that entity name in that one state. If multiple states are reported, for example, if the Articles were filed in a different state than the business's physical address, the IRS will check both states for name availability before issuing an EIN, even though filing the Articles only requires a unique entity name in the one state where the Articles are being filed. Applying for an EIN over the phone may be required in these name conflict situations; often, the IRS agent will ask to see a copy of the Articles before issuing an EIN.

Reference Numbers 109 and 110 indicate technical problems and an EIN may still be obtainable using the exact same information that resulted in the error. The error might result from too many people trying to obtain an EIN at the same time. Try again later, or try closing and reopening the browser, using a different browser, using a different computer, clearing cookies, restarting the computer, or adjusting your security settings. Or, feel free to contact me; I would be happy to try and help.

76 comments:

I did a a paper one and it involved me getting finger printed.

Chris
Owner Cel Financial Services
IRS Registered Tax Return Preparer
Registered bonded California CTEC Tax Preparer
Please visit my website for all your Fillmore Income Tax needs.
http://www.taxprepfillmore.com/

Interesting, do tell. I've been told over the phone that I couldn't have an EIN because the entity was formed in a state that was different from the business address...

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Thank you. This information is really helpful!

I accidentally used the wrong entity structure when applying online. How do I fix it? ie LLC should be an LP or vise versa.

I've written the IRS letters to update or fix EIN information before; that's the only way I know to approach this issue.

This is very informative. I've referred to this page several times in the last six months and it has been useful each time. Good work!

I keep getting error reference 101 yet I haven't even gotten to the part of the application where it asks for the business entity name! There must be another reason for this 101 error.

On a side note, why on earth does the IRS not put definitions to their reference codes online? Makes absolutely no sense why they make you call and the average wait time is 30-60 minutes! That would have been fine before the internet era but come on, seriously, get it together IRS and GOV.

Thank you so much for taking the time to make this post. I was pulling out my hair because of the constant error messages I was getting with an online application and then I found your post, which explained it concisely and clearly. If only such an explanation existed on the IRS's site, but that would make too much sense...

Thanks--just encountered this problem yesterday. Hoping that using the SSN will fix it!

I'm envisioning posting an updated version of this post with additional or new information. If anyone is aware of anything written here that is no longer correct or, if anyone has another tip, please let me know. Until then, here is some additional EIN help:

If you want to speak to a person at the IRS about an EIN, you can call 800-829-4933 and use the following prompts (remember, however, that they don't issue new EINs over the phone anymore):

Press 1 to continue in English.
Press 1 for Employer Identification Number information.
Press 2 to indicate you tried to obtain an EIN using the online application and got a reference number instead.
Press 1 for reference number 101 or 115 (this will get you through to a person).

As for the various reference numbers, this is what the telephone prompts say they mean:

102, 103, 105, or 108: The name and tax ID number of the responsible party do not match IRS records.

104: A third-party designee's contact information cannot be the same as the address or the phone number of the entity that is applying for an EIN.

109, 110, 112, or 113: The online application is temporarily unable to assign EINs; try again later.

114: Only one EIN will be assigned per day per responsible party.

I've been trying to get an EIN online and the site doesn't give me an error message. It merely states: "Your request could not be completed ...

We apologize but there seems to be an issue completing your request. Please try again in a few minutes."

The responsible entity has an EIN that begins with 36, so I don't think it got its EIN online. I've tried on several different browsers and on different computers but no luck. I am on hold with the IRS now, but was hoping to avoid having to apply through fax because of the delay... Thanks for any help or advice.

So frustrating. I have tried what you posted to no avail. still keep getting the 101 error. I have called the irs number numerous times. "they are experiencing a high volume call on the next business day!" Its been 3 days..

if an Ein number is rejected will your money be refundable?

Great article and information, Sterling. We have acquired several EINs online but have recently formed a parent company (whose EIN was received online) to own the other businesses. Because of this we had to submit our most recent EIN application via fax...that was 10 days ago and still no response with an EIN from the IRS. It says on their website to expect your EIN within 4 business days.


Do you have any experience with this? Should we send a follow-up application via snail mail? Your thoughts would be much appreciated!


Tracy Partridge-Johnson
Code Hat Labs, LLC
Hot Chops Music, LLC

The last time this happened to me I was able to call and obtain or confirm the EIN over the phone. Be sure to tell them you already sent in the SS-4 because they won't normally issue EINs that way, but they might since its been so long.

I've been trying for two days now and still continue to get the 109 error. I've used multiple web browsers, restarted computer, cleared history/cookies/cache, etc, but no luck. Any thoughts? Is the online application just not working at all right now? Thanks for the help!

That's entirely possible, there was a period lasting a couple weeks a couple years ago I remember where nothing was working.

Hi thank you for your helpful information and how determine reference 102 ,I tried but this reference came out into the system, how can I find out what kind of information they need in order to procede.is possible to obtain a EIN with 102 reference number? thanks

What happens if you get an EIN for an irrevocable trust but misspelled the trust name and rather than writing to the IRS to make changes, you wait an extra day and get a new EIN with the correct trust name?

My dad had a revocable trust. he has since died. In using the online form I keep getting message 101. What infor do I put in?
Irrevocable trust? responsible party? address for responsible party? 625 check box?
location of trust? The only way I think it will work is if I put myself in for the responsible party; but then I come up as grantor - not my Dad.

I first apply for the wrong EIN number call IRS and the agency said I apply for profit I explain it was for non-profit, she said send a letter to cancel the number i did now I get a letter saying EIN assigned is wrong , so the give me back the profit and I fax over this informant and give them the right EIN number....

My wife is starting a new business, and when she applied online for the EIN, she got the "does not match IRS records" error. This is undoubtedly because although she updated her driver's license, passport, etc. with her married name, she had never updated it with Social Security (and we've used her maiden name on tax returns).

Since she filed for the business using her married name, am I correct in thinking it would be a huge hassle if she got the EIN using her maiden name as the responsible party? I imagine this would have a cascading effect--she's going to be doing corp-to-corp contract work, and I am thinking this would mean her tax returns, business checking account, and payments would all need to be consistent, and a mismatch with her EIN sounds like it would be a huge hassle.

She's supposed to start her contract work on Monday so I'm hoping we can get all the critical tasks (incorporation, EIN, business checking account) done by then. She went this morning to the Social Security office and changed her name there--do you have any experience with this to know how long it will take to update in the EIN request system?

I don't have experience with how long it takes to update EIN request system records, but I suspect it is longer than a few days.

I have organized a parent LLC and a subsidiary LLC and am now trying to get an EIN for the subsidiary LLC - The parent EIN was obtained online - from reading the comments, it seems I'd have to fax or try calling to obtain an EIN for the subsidiary if I wanted to list the parent LLC as the responsible party.

Would it not be the same thing to just list myself as an individual as the responsible party? In the subsidiary's articles of organization, the parent LLC is listed as the only organizer, and the provisional info states that the subsidiary is in fact a subsidiary of the parent.

I'm just impatient probably and wanting to get this done sooner rather than later - any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks

This is not accurate. I obtained my company's EIN online and the first two numbers are 47. I have used that company as the responsible party for other EIN's obtained online for my other companies. So a company whose EIN was obtained online and begins with 47 CAN INDEED serve as the responsible party for another company applying for an EIN online.

That would be a remarkable change in IRS policy. One of my links above appears to be broken, but the IRS website still says that "We cannot process your application online if the responsible party is an entity with an EIN previously obtained through the Internet." http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online

Has anyone else been able to obtain an EIN online with a responsible party whose EIN was also obtained online???

Just tried to get an EIN with the responsible party being an entity that got it's EIN online and got the dreaded error. Looks like that policy is still in effect.

I'm the one who posted on February 11. Eventually I had to submit the paper form. Now (due to other insane bureaucratic federal regulations) I have to create a whole new business entity for a marginally different type of work, and five months later their god-awful site is still not working.

Madness and incompetence.

Thank you Sterling, your site is great. Thanks for taking the time to help us out.
William

I applied for a partnership EIN with my wife as partner and accidentally recorded my closing month for the accounting year as April. I know I need to file IRS form 1128 to change my accounting year to the calendar year (starting Jan 1 and ending Dec 31) but am not sure how to answer the questions in Part II, section B. Our business is very basic (home graphic design business) and started doing business March 25, 2015. Any advice would be appreciated (the form instructions are a bit hard to decipher).

Can the IRS deny an EIN to an estate because the administrator owes taxes?

This is a great article. I've referred to it several times in the last year and have it bookmarked.

Thank you from DLA

I have this issue, I formed a single member LLC in California, i am not a US citizen and do not have a SSN, i do have a ITIN, i tried it online first and it didnt work, i was told by irs i need to fax them a copy of articles of organization, itin proof and ss4, i did that 12 days ago, still nothing from irs, i called in today and was told they dont have any fax from me, i should fax them everything again...which means another 10 days...i couldnt wait that long, my cpa suggested he can obtain itin for me online using his name and ssn..and he did get me a ein.

Now my question is, will it have any consequences in the future for me ? Will there be any problems in developing my business credit history since my ein is connected to his ssn ? Pls advise.

Thank you SO much for this article/information!!!
Just like some of the comments before, I was pulling my hair, swearing internally (since it's in an office environment! LOL), sooo frustrated!
We wanted to obtain the EIN for a new entity right away, thus I tried Online application, which I have done several times within my 9 months employment as EA.
Anyway, I just don't understand WHY IRS won't give the applicant BETTER explanation WHY my application was not accepted! And install the phone system, so we could either wait for the next available personnel, instead hanging up on us with "Due to high volume..." @_@

You are the Savior to show us the way to resolve from this crazy dilemma!

With much gratitude.

Thank you for your article! I have faxed in requests for EINs several times with no problems. But the last 4 days my faxes won't go thru,comes back saying no answer, dial tone remains after dial sequence. The responsible party EIN was obtained online so this is my only option, any suggestions? The fax # I use is 859-669-5760.

Thanks again!

I have filed LLC articles of organization in Florida online. They accepted the application and I immediately requested and EIN online with IRS and received it. However, several days later, I received an email from Florida authorities that the name I chose, though unique, is too similar to an existing entity, and to choose a different one, which I did and they accepted it.

What do I do with an EIN # now? Do I write to the IRS to have the name updated, or to cancel the first entity, and apply online for a different EIN for new name?
The main problem is that I cannot open a business check account until I have the EIN confirmation, and Florida registration matching the name, so I am inclined to request new EIN and receive it immediately rather than to wait unknown time for the IRS to reply either with confirmation of the name update with the existing EIN or instructions to cancel and apply again.

Hello!

I recently tried to retrieve an EIN and received the 105 error. I do not know what to do because the name and the social are correct? What now? I need this number in order to open up a bank account for an estate.

Hi! I am applying for an EIN for a new LLC. I don't have a SSN but have a ITIN for self. I am getting error 102. Please advice. Thanks!

HI _ I am starting two LLC's, so got teh first EIN no problem, but now I cant get teh second one on-line. get error 109 after I enter my name, SSN. Is this becasue i can only get one EIN on-line in my lifetime? Then why say i can only get one per day?

For two days now I have unsuccessfully but relentlessly tried to obtain an EIN online. Error 109 pops up after I enter my name and SSN or after I complete the online form and click "submit." I don't understand why I am unsuccessful. I know I need an EIN, I am operating within business hours, and I am trying over and over and over again.

I guess many of us have been getting 109 in the last few days. I'm now confident there are some issues within IRS system

i used IE and was succesful in getting my second EIN. good news...

Olaf, that's no fair. I've been trying all afternoon to get an EIN for my father-in-law (for household employee). What's the deal? Very frustrating. We told him it would be easy. Last time we got an EIN, it was by phone. Those days are gone apparently ...

God bless you for posting this valuable information! I tried 4 times to get an EIN for an irrevocable trust we're establishing, then had to wait on hold with the IRS for 30 minutes only to be told I would have to do it by mail. Oh, and the agent knew the reason the application was rejected but "was not obligated to tell me" and "had done her required duty as an IRS customer service representative". She was perfectly un-phased by telling me I would need to apply by mail and wait 4-6 weeks, even after I explained the urgency. I was pleasant as imaginable prior to this statement, but afterwards I did tell her exactly what I thought of her organization, in no uncertain terms. After reading your article I realized it was simply a duplicate name issue, changed the name to include a middle initial, and BAM - got my number! This is a prime example of why people HATE the IRS. LAME LAME LAME don't give a %@$%@ government workers!!

IRS error 101. VERY Helpful. In my case I needed to spell out the deceased middle name.

Can confirm IE (now Edge) worked for me, as a second-time online EIN obtainer (sorry about that weird turn-of-phrase). Worked on the second time on Edge, where as Chrome just went kaput.

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My mom has a revocable trust and I'm the successor trustee. She just passed. I want to keep the trust intact to keep her house in it (per her wishes). I will do the 1041 form when the time comes. My problem is filling out the SS-4. Should I list myself as Responsible party or mom? If i put myself as Resposible it auto populates me as the Grantor. All i want to do is continue the same trust as irrevocable.
All I want is an EIN so I can do its taxes. Thanks

Did you ever get this figured out? From what I can glean from the internet, you would check "irrevocable trust" and put dad as the Responsible party using his SS#. You would go in line 3 trustee box. Also put the date you are applying as the date entity was formed or you'll have requests for back tax returns. Not sure what to put in reason for applying. In essence you are starting a new trust but I'm not totally sure. I'm also not changing the name. If you get more info please share.

Hi. I mistakenly applied for 2 EINs for the same LLC. Do I cancel one or just not use it? Should I use the first one issues or the most recent one issued?

Thanks!

Here is the IRS's instructions for cancelling and EIN number: https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Canceling-an-EIN-Closing-Your-Account

Assuming you haven't used either number in any way, I'd probably keep the first one.

I have tried all day for EIN online and keep receiving maintenance page... so frustrating...any idea what to do next?

Received Reference Number 111 when trying to obtain EIN online... can not reach the IRS to find out what 111 reference number is??

Thank you for the post, I found it extremely helpful and informative. Are you facing difficulties in applying for EIN or afraid of the rejection of your application? You can take here experts help to get an EIN for you.

My CPA obtained an EIN for my deceased mother's estate and used it to file 1 return for the year after her death, but no federal taxes were owed. Now years later, we are just getting around to probating the estate. My lawyer informs me that the EIN won't be valid for the probated estate and suggested we apply for a new one after the estate is opened. Will the system allow a second EIN for the same decedent? I think the name of the estate will not be exactly the same because I will now be listed as an administrator, while the old one said EX for executor.

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Hi Sterling, excellent post. I am hoping you can help me. 

I created a Holding company w/ EIN responsible party in my name.
I created 4 additional companies and I'm trying to make the Holding company the responsible party. I'd like to pass all profits from the 4 additional companies to the holding company. When I file via making the Holding co the responsible party, I receive this error: Reference ID: 0.22e1160.1466701719.2747ae17.

From readying your article, I believe this occurs because the Holding co already has an EIN and I need to file as and individual. 

I own all companies, so if I apply for the EIN as an individual and not a Holding co business, will this affect anything? What are the pros/cons?

I was trying to apply on-line for an EIN for my father's estate. I got the dreaded "Reference 101" error. I Dreaded the thought of mailing an application and having to wait 4 weeks. After spending a 1/2 hr on hold, the IRS representative told me he wasn't at liberty to tell me what a "101" error was. No wonder the IRS has such a terrible reputation! Well, we have a common last name and I filed it using my father's middle initial. I figured there must be a name conflict, so I did as an earlier poster suggested, and I re-applied spelling out my father's middle name. It worked!

I have been trying to get an FEIN for a new subsidiary of a client for almost a week, and keep getting the Maintenance Page that says: "Your request could not be completed ...
We apologize but there seems to be an issue completing your request. Please try again in a few minutes." There is no error code. I have tried 3 different browsers, and 3 different computers. I have tried from early morning until well into the evening. I have verified all of the information including the responsible party's own EIN. I have called the IRS business helpline, and can't get through to a human being. The only message I've gotten that makes any sense says that the IRS website "WAS" temporarily unable to assign FEIN numbers but that it's now functioning, and to try again. Trying again doesn't help. Same message every time. The client wants the new FEIN number immediately. Any ideas would really be appreciated.

The sense I have been getting recently is that online EIN applications that name an entity, as opposed to an individual, as the responsible party are being rejected for unknown reasons, even where the responsible party did not obtain its EIN over the internet. The only solution I'm aware of is to use an individual as the responsible party; I think that's in the spirit of the responsible party rules and unlikely to have any negative impact if that individual is actually involved with the new business.

Thanks for this informative page. Tried to apply for sole proprietor as individual w/SSN as applicant. Got dreaded 101 error. Now on hold w/IRS for 30 minutes.

Sterling Olander: Thanks for the tip. I had the EVP of the client give me his social security number. I then filed with him as the responsible party instead of the three different entities I had tried, and it worked like a charm. I'm going to file a Form 8822-B to get the responsible party switched to the entity name, but in the meantime, at least they'll be able to open bank accounts. Hope they get this problem fixed soon. Thanks again!

I am trying to get an online EIN for my parents trust that I am the administrator for. When I get to the part about inputting the trust fund date I enter April, 1990 and get a message that it can't be more than 25 years ago. I have called many different numbers only to hear you need to do it online, by FAX (I don't have one), by mail (4 weeks) or by phone if you live out of the country. If I input 1992 it takes it but that is false information. How should I proceed?
Thanks in advance.

If your parent's trust was set up as a revocable trust for estate planning purposes, it would not have needed a separate EIN until it became irrevocable. Accordingly, I'd list the date that it became irrevocable, not the day the trust was formed.

My sister passed and I am successor trustee and I have no clue what I'm doing or supposed to do. I did apply online for my ein and got rejected by code 101. I'm wondering if I should list my deceased sister, or me, as the responsible party. I'm hoping I'm filling the form out incorrectly and that you can guide me re. the responsiblity party issue. Thank you.

hi i am traying to get my EIN but i get refrence 105
please help me to solve this problem because i put ir my name right

Just got off the phone with the IRS because of a "101 error" message.
I was trying to obtain an EIN for an second LLC I started and was told that as a sole-proprietor or single-member LLC I could use the same EIN that was issued to my first LLC.
Hope this helps someone and saves them the 1/2 hour wait time!

Hi my bookeeper/tax man applied for our business a ein number Jan of 2017 & while it should have been done in 2016 he didn't file for it until 2017 .My only employee received her w2 & filed to only be rejected b/c it says the ein number was issued in 2017 & can't be used to file for 2016. My tax man says he spoke w/someone at the irs & they have no clue why it would reject it. Any advice

Hi. I actually got an EIN for an estate, says congratulations, successfully assigned... but can't print the confirmation due to error 112? Now what?

I keep getting this after I submit all the information online. I've tried different browsers, rebooted computer, etc. What to do?


Your request could not be completed ...

We apologize but there seems to be an issue completing your request. Please try again in a few minutes.
Return to IRS.gov home
Error from: https%3A//sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/IndividualEINClientServlet%3Faction%3DGenerateEINAction
Reference ID: 0.e6f9ccc.1494336599.3368e2e

I was trying this for two days. I was switching organization types from an LLC and trying to use my existing business as the "responsible party". There was also an option to use myself as the sole owner and my SSN which I elected to do after it failed the other way multiple times and as soon as I did that it went through. I definitely created my original online and started with 27 so this article isn't entirely accurate or it has changed since 2015. Thanks and good luck.

I was an existing single member LLC, changing my tax election to an s-corp.

IRS is insisting that our EIN be changed, however the IRS website states clearly, we don't have to change it

We are an existing LLC (since 2009), IRS is telling us we are a sole proprietor. This is not correct. I have written letters and sent a copy of wwbsite page. They keep trying to tell us different.

We have been filing our taxes as a single member LLC, until we changed tax election to s-corp the first of this year.

How can I get this straightened out? We have paid all of our taxes to date on time, using our existing EIN, not the new one they are saying we should use.

Help!

Continually get the below error when applying for an EIN. The tax responsible partner's EIN starts with a "36". I have tried various internet browsers, various computers in different offices etc. and keep getting the below error. Any advice? The IRS doesn't have any?

Your request could not be completed ...

We apologize but there seems to be an issue completing your request. Please try again in a few minutes.

Return to IRS.gov home


Error from: https%3A//sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/IndividualEINClientServlet%3Faction%3DGenerateEINAction
Reference ID: 0.5dcafea5.1503666762.84b3192

I am trying to request and EIN and when it states date trust was funded I enter the month and 1990, which is correct. I get a red message saying:
*Year cannot be more than 1 year in the future or more than 25 years in the past.

Now what do I do?