Q: Does our ministry need an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?

A: Yes. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is an organization’s federal identification number, much like an individual’s Social Security Number.

An organization’s EIN is used to open bank accounts, file tax forms for payroll withholdings, etc. An EIN can be obtained by an unincorporated association, as well as by a not-for-profit corporation.

Because an EIN is necessary for such essential items as opening a bank account, every ministry should apply for an EIN as soon as possible. If the ministry chooses to incorporate, it is recommended that it not apply for an EIN until after its Articles of Incorporation have been accepted by the state.

Applying for an EIN

An organization can apply for an EIN online, without a fee, at www.irs.gov. If the organization has concerns about how to answer the questions in the online application, it is recommended that it seek the assistance of a local attorney or Certified Public Accountant.

Recommended Resources

If you found this information helpful, you might be interested in this other resource from Brotherhood Mutual:

Learn more about ministry finance and taxation in our article, How "Unrelated Business Income" May Affect Your Ministry. The IRS also offers a helpful "Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations."

Visit our Safety Library to find other articles, publications and tools on wide range of topics relevant to your ministry.

*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.

The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.