If you live outside the US and want to engage in Internet Marketing, you will definitely need an EIN. This tutorial will show you a little hundred-percent-legal trick, straight from the IRS, to get an EIN in a few minutes and with little effort. This method only applies to international users who need an EIN for affiliate marketing. It does not work under any other circumstances. EIN stands for employer identification number, and is required by law to work as an affiliate for companies located in the USA. I am not going into what an EIN exactly is or why is it required, because I myself do not really know, nor care. Despite the name, you do not need to have any employees working for you or your company to get this number. It is basically a number that identifies you as an entity, and which companies you work for as an affiliate can quote on their tax returns. Some companies like Bluehost are very strict in requiring their affiliates to provide a valid EIN; others will ask you for it before they issue a payment, and a few will totally ‘forget’ to ask for one. To avoid missing out on some great business opportunities, you need to get an EIN. Note that having an EIN does not mean that you have to pay any taxes associated with it from any of your affiliate sales. The best way to get one is to phone the IRS and request it. Do not let this put you down! I give you my word that it is very easy. And I am giving away a little secret that will enable you to get one in less than twenty minutes without mailing anything or waiting for any documents to show up in the mail. The way to do it is to use Skype to call the IRS phone number (Internal Revenue Service). They have left me waiting on hold for ten minutes. On a normal land line, that would have cost me an arm and a leg. With Skype, I spent forty-seven cents! So Skype is highly recommended.
The IRS phone number to call to get your EIN is +1 (267) 941-1099. If you are in Europe you should therefore dial 0012679411099. If using Skype, pick the US flag and type the IRS phone number: 2679411099 without the country code.
Here is a transcript of my call to the IRS phone number for getting my EIN:
- (robot voice) Welcome to the Internal Revenue Service, International and US Residency Certification Service. If you are requesting an employer identification number for an entity organized outside the United States, press one. If you have a question about an individual identification number, often called an ipin, press two. If your inquiry concerns US certifications or form 6166 or form 880, press three.
[Press the number 1 on your keyboard or telephone at this point]
-(robot voice) Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes. Please hold while your call is transferred. We estimate your wait time to be between four and seven minutes.
[Nine minutes and forty seconds later a human answers my call]
- Internal Revenue Service. This is Ms.******* identification number ******. Are you calling to apply for an identification number?
– Good Morning. Yes, I am calling to apply for an EIN. [Note: it’s very important to be as polite as possible, to get to our goal of getting the number on the phone without much delay or need to fax additional documentation.]
– Good Morning
– I am Arthur Burlo and I am calling from Malta. I am calling to apply for an EIN to comply with IRS withholding regulations. I am not starting an entity in the US. [Note: it is VERY important to state these two facts: that you need the EIN only to comply with IRS withholding regulations and that you are not starting an entity on US territory]
– Can I have your name please?
- Sure, it’s Arthur Burlo. That’s “b”, “u”, “r”, “l”, “o”.
– And I need a contact phone number for you…
– Yes, it’s +356. That’s the country code. And ********.
– OK, and is the application for a limited liability company?
- No, it’s just for an individual. I need it to submit a W8-BEN form. [This is also important. The W8-BEN form is the one we need to fill to apply as affiliates with companies like Clickbank or Bluehost]
– And this is for yourself?
– OK, do you have a US social security IPIN number?
– OK, Do you have a trade name or ‘doing business as’ name?
– No, I am an individual and need it to fill forms to work as affiliate with companies such as Amazon.
– OK, so you don’t have a trade name or ‘doing business as’ name?
– No, sorry, I don’t.
– Would you have the mail doing in care of anyone besides yourself?
- No, it’s only me. I have no administrators or employees.
– What’s the mailing address?
– It’s *** Flat 3.
– What is that?
– It’s *** Flat Number 3. [I forgot that ‘flat’ is not a synonym of ‘apartment’ in the US, as it is in other English speaking countries.]
– What is that? I am not understanding what that is.
– It’s “Flat”, “f”, “l”, “a”, “t”. Flat number 3, like “the third flat”.
– Then it’s ** ******* ***. [Gave her my street.]
– Is there a city?
– Yes it’s ********.
– And is there a state or country?
- Yes state and country are the same. It’s Malta, “m”, “a”, “l”, “t”, “a”.
– Is there a postal code?
– Is the mailing address the same as the location for the business?
– And reason for the application?
– [Again, this is important to avoid all the paperwork and waiting] It’s to comply with the IRS withholding regulations and fill the W8-BEN form.
- Business start date?
– [This is also important to ensure that the number is provided on the phone] I will be filling the form as soon as I have the number, so immediately once I have it.
– Would there be US employees?
– No, no US employees at all.
– What’s the principal activity of the business?
– Selling books on behalf of Amazon.
– Will the business be involved with any gambling or lotteries?
– Do you use any heavy highway vehicles?
– Do you sell firearms, tobacco or alcohol?
– Is there a US phone number for the business?
– OK, Sir, I am going to spell back your information and make sure we have it correct and then we will submit for your number.
- Yes, thank you.
– So this is going to be a sole proprietorship under your name. First name is spelled “a”, “u”, “r”, “t”, “h”, “o”, “r”?
– No, it’s “a”, “r”, “t”, “h”, “u”, r”
– “a”, “r”, “t”, “h”, “u”, r”?
– Last name “b”, “u”, “r”, “l”, “o”?
– Yes, correct!
– The address is *** ** *** ******** ****** *****?
– Yes, correct.
– Al right, Sir, we have a number for you.
– Yes. [YAY!!!!!!!!!]
– The number is **-*******.
– So it’s **-*******?
– Yes, Now we’ll send a letter to your mailing address. It will have your information on it and your number. When you get it make copies as you may need them for verification purposes.
- Do I need to send a fax or anything else?
– No, Sir.
– Thank you very much. You have been very helpful.
– Bye Bye
I reported my call to the IRS phone number exactly as it happened, with all the little irrelevant spelling mistakes and back and forth dialog so you can see the whole picture, and how easy it was. That’s all. You can start using the number immediately and you will receive the documentation by mail. When a company you want to affiliate with requests you to fill out a form W8-BEN, you will now have all the information needed to do so. Do make copies of the letter you get in the mail since some companies may request a scanned copy. Bluehost and Justhost asked for it. It took a month for the letter to arrive. If you do not wish to phone, you can also download the application here and fax it to +1 859-669-5987. A filled sample is provided here. Red circles are added only to draw your attention to the check boxes and my details are fake, of course. Happy affiliations!