Generally, businesses need a Federal Tax ID number or an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to legally conduct business. Whether a sole proprietor or a corporation, an EIN is necessary. This number is used to identify a business entity for tax purposes and is fairly simple to obtain. The IRS supplies multiple ways to apply for an EIN. The traditional method is the fill out Form SS-4 (which can be downloaded from www.irs.gov) and mail or fax it directly to the IRS. The IRS has also supplied an online application (https://sa1.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp) that asks the applicant a series of questions regarding his/her business. This application must be completed within one session, so it is important that an applicant has all necessary information available at the time of application.
A third party is allowed to apply for an EIN; however, that third party must be authorized by the business. If the business is a sole proprietorship or general partnership, the sole proprietor or general partnership must authorize the third party to apply for an EIN. If it is a corporation, the corporation (and not simply a shareholder) must authorize the third party to apply for an EIN.