Capturing a slice of the US retail market is a common objective for many Australian businesses. Platforms like Shopify, supported by tech businesses like Facebook and Google, have made it easier than ever to enter overseas markets such as the USA.
Australian entrepreneurs can now live this dream. However, if you are selling in the US, you may need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) which is used to identify a business entity. Australians do not have a social security number (SSN), which makes this process slightly more complicated.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What is an EIN?
- Will I need an EIN?
- How to apply for an EIN
What is an EIN?
EIN stands for Employer Identification Number and is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number. It’s used to identify businesses by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes and is unique to each business.
Will I need an EIN?
If you are selling through your own website using a platform such as Shopify, or selling via Amazon, the short answer is yes. You’ll need an EIN to file your tax returns.
How to apply for an EIN
Australians are not able to apply online if their business isn’t incorporated in the United States. As stated by the IRS, “If you were incorporated outside of the United States or the U.S. territories, you cannot apply for an EIN online.”
As an Australian, you will have to fill out an IRS Form SS-4 – Application for Employer Identification Number, providing an American business address, and choose only ONE of the following methods:
Phone (immediately): Applications for EIN by phone can only be received by international applicants. As stated on the IRS instructions for form SS-4: “If you have NO legal residence, principal place of business, or principal office or agency in the U.S. or U.S. possessions, you may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number), 6:00am – 11:00pm (ET), Monday-Friday, to obtain an EIN.”
Fax (4 business days): You can find the latest fax number here.
Mail ( A few weeks): Mailing your SS-4 form will be the slowest method in receiving your EIN. However, if you do decide to choose this method you can mail the SS-4 for for an EIN to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN International Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Access free local currency accounts
Once you’ve got your EIN, it’s time to save on your international money transfers with WorldFirst’s great exchange rates and transparent pricing of 0.60% or less. Global sellers can open local currency accounts quickly and for free in USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CNH, SGD, NZD, AUD, HKD and CAD.
Our accounts are made for the collection of global funds relating to your business and are not made for long-term storing of funds.
Grow your business without barriers
Disclaimer: These comments are the views and opinions of the author and should not be construed as advice. You should act using your own information and judgement. Whilst information has been obtained from and is based upon multiple sources the author believes to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy and it may be incomplete or condensed. All opinions and estimates constitute the author’s own judgement as of the date of the briefing and are subject to change without notice. Please consider FX derivatives are high risk, provide volatile returns and do not guarantee profits.