Over a year ago, I alerted clients to painful changes within the IRS. Catastrophic budget cuts have eliminated thousands of customer service personnel and all but eliminated any telephonic taxpayer services for domestic EINs.
The IRS changed their procedure in 2014, and reaching an IRS agent to take your application is no longer an option. If you are unable to utilize the online system, either because it is down that day, or because your situation is ineligible, you must now either fax your completed, signed SS-4 application to the IRS, or mail it.
Facsimile transmission is supposed to result in an EIN assignment being faxed to the taxpayer in about 4 days. Mailing the application means the taxpayer should receive an assignment letter in 30 days. People will now need guard against being in a position where the inability to obtain a same day EIN causes major disruption to business launch plans.
In my experience, I’ve obtained an EIN timely via return fax about 40% of the time. A recent new business was unable to use the online system because of a past, dissolved business under the same name. After 8 days, 2 IRS telephone follow-up calls and almost 2 hours spent on hold, the IRS finally provided the EIN verbally in the call.
While technology has increased the speed of business, the IRS has put on the brakes, decreasing efficiency and increasing costs. Everyone should be looking for opportunities to be the “squeaky wheel” and request to restore funding and service personnel within the IRS.