Washington (Dec. 9, 2003) -- The Internal Revenue Service says it has issued more than 498,081 Employer Identification Numbers through its online application since it became available in April.

By the end of November 2003, the IRS was receiving 37.5 percent of all EIN applications through the Internet. The online application mimics the paper Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number. The IRS noted that applications faxed or mailed are often incomplete or contain errors and frequently require additional contact with the applicant by an IRS employee.

"Making EINs available to IRS customers on an immediate and permanent basis is an important step in improving our partnership with the business community," commissioner Mark W. Everson said. "We want to reduce burden for businesses and tax professionals wherever possible."

The online application form immediately issues a new employer identification number, or EIN, eliminating both paperwork and the usual four-to-10 day wait to receive an EIN through paper processes. The IRS assigns the nine-digit numbers to identify taxpayers. The number is required for a host of purposes and getting it quickly is important for someone starting a business. A business cannot establish a bank account, for instance, without a federal EIN.

- WebCPA staff

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