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Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsSeptember 27, 2007

Can the current owner of a business transfer her tax ID number to me if I am keeping the same name of the business?

I am buying a small business, and I need to get a tax ID number so that I can open a bank account. Can the current owner transfer her tax id to me if I am keeping the same name of the business?
The answer to your question depends on exactly what you are intending to do. As a general rule, a Tax ID or Employer Identification Number (EIN) cannot be transferred when there has been a change of business structure or ownership. If the business merely changes its name or moves to a new location, it may retain the EIN but must notify the taxing authorities of the name change. If you are starting a new business and merely using the same name as was previously used by the other business, you will require a new EIN. The IRS website (www.irs.gov) provides a good explanation of when a new EIN is required.
Mark L. Skaist is a shareholder in the Newport Beach office of Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, where he specializes in corporate and securities law.

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