Ins and Outs of EINs

There is no shortage of symbols or numbers that can be used to identify companies, which makes trying to match company lists from different sources challenging. The more commonly used company identifiers include ticker symbols, CUSIPs, CIKs and ISINs, as well as proprietary numbers like D-U-N-S Numbers or BvD identification numbers. One of the less commonly used company identifiers is the Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as the Federal Tax Identification Number. It is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify entities that need to file business tax returns. It is a nine digit number, either expressed as a single string (050155090) or with the first two digits, a dash/hyphen and the final seven digits (e.g. 05-0155090). EINs are not as readily available in directory and company databases as other identifiers. Where can you find EINs for company matching when you need them?

Individual EINs for a specific company are available from a company’s SEC filings; see Lippincott’s Business FAQ Where do I find SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) filings? for details about locating these filings. On the front page of a filing, the EIN is listed as the IRS Employer Identification No.

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It is also listed in the filing submission text files with the label IRS Number. You can find EINs for private companies if they have filed with the SEC. See for example the IRS Number from the complete submission text file from a Form D filed by Uber in 2015.

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Corporate Affiliations, a directory database from LexisNexis providing corporate structure information, includes EINs in its records for public companies and some private companies. One caveat about Corporate Affiliations and the other resources mentioned below is that they often only list EINs for public companies, even though private companies are also required to obtain and use EINs. To find EINs in Corporate Affiliations, search for a company of interest and view its record. The EIN will appear toward the top of the record as FEIN.

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Note that Corporate Affiliations is misleading with regard to the exportability of EINs. While FEIN appears to be available as an exportable field, it is not populated in the export results; a FEIN column will display, but it will be blank. Another LexisNexis option is to use the FEIN search in Lexis.com. Lexis.com is available to current Wharton students, faculty and staff at Lippincott; please contact us at lippinco@wharton.upenn.edu to set up an appointment.

Mergent Online includes the EIN in the header information at the top of  the company record, labeled IRS Number.

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These can be exported for 500 records at a time via the Company Analyst List option that appears on the results page after running a search.

After adding companies to the analysis list, click the My Mergent Tools button and select Company Analysis List. From the My Mergent Tools page, select Company Comparison Report. EIN appears as IRS Number in the Select Data Items area.

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EINs for nonprofit organizations can be found in their IRS 990 filings, officially titled Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.

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See the 990s, Financials & Regulations tab of our Nonprofit Sector research guide for information about tools for locating 990s.  They appear At a Glance section of each foundation record in the Foundation Directory Online.

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The National Directory of Nonprofit Organizations includes the EIN in organization records, and also provides it as a field in exported lists.