From the August 2003 issue of Entrepreneur

Getting your federal employee identification Number (EIN) just got easier, thanks to the SBA. Entrepreneurs can now fill out one online form to get state and local taxpayer ID numbers. Set up together with EzGov Inc., an e-government technology provider in Atlanta, the new online program is intended to save entrepreneurs time and money during start-up. The program is being piloted in Georgia and Illinois, and other states are expected to join soon, says Ed Trimble, president and CEO of EzGov. "The hope is that all states will participate," he says.

The program was designed to make regulations easy to find, understand and comply with, says James Van Wert, senior advisor for policy planning and e-government for the SBA. Van Wert estimates that when businesses adopt the new technology en masse, they will save more than 2.4 million hours and almost $100 million annually, compared to the manual process.

The program is designed to link to a state's Web site as well, offering entrepreneurs a one-stop shop for registering their businesses. Until the new program is available in all states, entrepreneurs can still get their EIN online (even if their state isn't yet participating). Visit www.businesslaw.gov to get started.

According to reports, 694 businesses used the new service, which launched in February 2003, in its first week. Says Trimble, "It eases the setup task that all small businesses go through."