An EIN: A Simple Way to Protect Yourself

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An EIN: A Simple Way to Protect Yourself

Even a freelancer who does a small amount of business will at some point have a client who is going to need a W9 form so that they can report their payments to you on their taxes. For many of us, this means filling out a simple federal form with name, address, and of course, Social Security number: everything a budding identity thief would need to run off with a few jet skis and maybe a small condo on Lake Tahoe in your name. Considering how there’s really no way for you to be certain how protective the client can be over this information, it’s a good idea to protect yourself.

How? With an Employer Identification Number (EIN). It’s a special number issued by the IRS that’s tied to your SSN. Since it’s not your Social, it provides a layer of protection in case it ends up in the wrong hands. You don’t need to have an LLC or anything. Additionally, it sets you up as a legitimate business which allows you to easily open a business banking account, get a business credit card, and even register as a reseller with certain vendors (meaning you won’t pay sales tax, your clients do.)

Here’s the best part: you can apply for an EIN in a matter of minutes online. Be certain to write that number down in a few places as it’s a pain to get a reminder or a new EIN.

Get an Employer Identification Number

Start here and click the “Apply Online Now” button…


…which brings you to the page below, and then you’re on your way.



Ready, Set, Freelance is a series of articles based on Ed and Justin’s presentation of the same name. Actually, it’s more of a crash course into the wild world of freelancing. The articles provide guidance on how to navigate the pitfalls and rewards of working as a freelance creative professional. Enjoy.

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