How to Obtain a Tax ID Number for a Living Trust

A tax ID number, also known as an employer identification number (EIN), is a nine-digit number distributed by the IRS to identify sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, estates and trusts for tax reporting purposes. Generally, the IRS does not require the grantor of an estate, or the individual who owns the assets in the trust, to obtain an EIN number; however, if someone other than the grantor is acting as the trustee, the trust must obtain an EIN. This number is used to report investments and prepare federal and state income tax, rather than using the grantor’s Social Security number. To obtain an EIN number for a trust, you must complete Form SS-4 and submit the form to the IRS.

Via Mail

Visit the IRS website at and obtain Form SS-4 and the corresponding instructions. You can save the form and instructions to your computer or print the documents directly from the website.

Enter your information in the top portion of the form. You must also provide information about the trustee.

Check the box labeled “Trust,” and enter the grantor’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) in the field provided. Generally, this number is the grantor’s Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).

Complete the remainder of the form, only answering the questions that are relevant to the trust.

Sign and date Form SS-4. Mail the form to the IRS address listed on the Form SS-A instructions.

Via Internet

Visit the IRS website at and click the “Apply for an EIN Online” link. This link is located toward the top of the page.

Click “Apply Online Now,” and click “Begin Application” to proceed.

Select “Trusts” from the list of entities and click “Continue.”

Click “Trust (All Others)", and click “Continue.”

Select whether the trust is for an existing business or individual, and provide the name and EIN or Social Security number of the trustee.

Click “Continue." The IRS will display the trust’s EIN number.

Print this page for your records. You will receive official documentation from the IRS within 10 business days.

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About the Author

Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.