Starting a Nonprofit

9. Get an EIN

Once you have received the official date-stamped filed Articles of Incorporation from the Pennsylvania Department of State for your new nonprofit corporation, your organization can apply for an employer identification number (EIN). An EIN is a taxpayer identification number and is like a social security number for a nonprofit organization. A nonprofit organization should have an EIN even if it does not have employees.

The IRS does not charge a fee for issuing EINs. Use this link to apply for an EIN. Organizations can also use the IRS Form SS-4, though the process is much slower.

The application only takes a few minutes to complete and to complete this application you’ll need the social security number and mailing address of the person in charge of filing tax reports for the organization (often the founder or President or Treasurer). The IRS will instantly provide an EIN at the completion of the online application process. You can download the PDF or request the letter by mail. Here’s a guidesheet for applying for an EIN. Although applying for an EIN for a nonprofit organization can be a simple process, founders who are not in the know can waste time and money when applying for EINs. Our guide sheet walks through the process step by step, warning of some common possible pitfalls.