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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.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.

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