Q: Should I Get My EIN First?

When to get your EIN for your nonprofit organizationNooo! Granted: the EIN, or FEIN, stands for "Federal Employer Identification Number" or EIN for short.

And you might say you won't need one, because you don't plan on hiring any staff or paying any employees...but that doesn't matter to the IRS or to potential funders. They insist you get one.

In my opinion, they REALLY should call them "Company Federal Identification Number" or CFIN instead, just for that reason: in order to file for tax-exempt status, you need to have an EIN. And in order to obtain grant funding, you'll need to show funders your EIN, because it helps to prove you have obtained tax-exempt status! So just go with it, okay?

Here's the thing: when you apply for your EIN, the name you use must match EXACTLY with your organization's legal name. Your legal name is usually the one you've used to obtain your corporate status, hence it's the name on your Articles of Incorporation or Charter.

So timing is everything! If you first obtain your EIN and THEN apply for your corporate status, and the name you choose does not get approved...your EIN will be invalid and useless. This means you must FIRST apply for and receive corporate status, then setup your by-laws, and finally - obtain your EIN.

Once all that's done, you can then focus on applying for and obtaining federal tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit status!

Have a question or need help setting up your tax-exempt, 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization? Call us at 1.865.408.8833, Comment below, or email us directly, and we'll get back with you ASAP! Just click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to send an email!