Protect Your Identity From Theft: Give
Your EIN When Clients Request Tax ID
December 7, 2016
By Fred Humberstone
Almost every day we see reports of identity theft reported in the news. And the costs for the victims to restore their good name and credit is staggering.
For the most part, credit monitoring services and the organizations that you do business with, that have been hacked, tell you after the fact that someone has obtained your personal information and Social Security Number (SSN).
When that happens it's too late. Your fight has begun.
To protect yourself you must be proactive in your efforts to secure your personal information and Social Security Number.
GET EIN FROM IRS
As a VO talent doing business with multiple companies, agents and studios, it may be quite common to share this personal information, as requested, for the purpose of getting paid - and we all want to get paid, right?
What do you do?
Actually, you may rely on the IRS for help. Instead of offering your Social Security Number to those you perform for, you may substitute an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and it's easy to get!
You do not need any more employees, other than yourself, to obtain an EIN.
As per IRS Publication 334, Tax Guide for Small Business, the information in this publication applies to small business owners who are sole proprietors. Also, you are self-employed if you carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor, and, a sole proprietor is someone who owns an unincorporated business by himself or herself.
HOW TO APPLY
Applying for your EIN is easy.
First you will need your SSN and the name (or DBA) and address of your business.
Online, go to:
The EIN is issued immediately once the application information is validated.
By telephone, dial 800-829-4933. This is the option I used, and I had my EIN within 10 minutes, with a paper copy delivered by mail within a week.
You may also mail or fax in Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number.
NOW, TO USE IT ...
When establishing an account with any entity that will be paying you, instead of offering your SSN when requested, you will now give them a photocopy of the EIN identification form you will receive from the IRS.
If you have already submitted your SSN to other clients in the past, then you should contact these clients for the purpose of updating your payment information - and insist that they delete your SSN from their files and use your new EIN instead.
GET THE FORMS
To obtain IRS forms, you can go online to: www.irs.gov/formspubs.
Or you can write to:
Internal Revenue Service
Tax Forms and Publications
1111 Constitution Avenue N.W., IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224
You may also call: 1-800-829-3676.
These forms are also available in Spanish, as well.
To obtain an EIN you must also have a SSN. If you are a nonresident of the USA or a resident alien who does not have a SSN, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Please refer also to Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, for more information.
For additional information on identity theft issues, go to: www.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection for information and videos.
If your SSN has been lost or stolen or you suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft visit: www.irs.gov/identitytheft to learn what steps you should take.
Born in Detroit where his parents worked in the entertainment field, Fred Humberstone has been a resident of Pinellas County, FL, since the age of three. Not shy to get behind a microphone, he began his career in voice over in 1980 when asked by the owner of the automobile dealership he was working for at the time to be the voice of the dealership during live radio station remote broadcasts from the dealership. Fred later voiced for additional employers, including presentations on radio and TV. He now works full time in VO from his home recording studio and, he says, he "can usually be found along any busy local highway with a handmade cardboard sign offering to narrate audiobooks for food."
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