EIN Reference Number 101 [Ultimate Guide for 2021]

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An EIN Reference Number 101 is the most common EIN error you may encounter while applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This guide explains and provides solutions relating to the IRS EIN reference number 101 and the most common IRS reference numbers in general.

What are EINs?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN)—also known as the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)—is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to business entities for identification.

Each tax-related document requires tax identification numbers. The most commonly required numbers include TIN and EIN. Unfortunately, people often confuse EIN with TIN. But EIN is a subcategory of TIN, just like SSN, ITIN, ATIN, and PTIN.

EIN reference numbers (error numbers) include 101, 102, 109, 113, 114, 155, and many more. Below you’ll find the most common EIN reference numbers, IRS technical difficulties, and how you can resolve your EIN application issue

NOTE: You can obtain an EIN at irs.gov (IRS Gov EIN numbers) and complete the application process. But you’ll need Adobe Reader installed to receive a confirmation letter online.

EINs: Explanations And Solutions

When you’re going through the IRS EIN Online Assistant, you might encounter an EIN reference number at the end of the application. Consider the solutions to the most common EIN reference numbers below.

EIN Reference Number 101 (Name Conflict/Duplicate)

When applying for an EIN online, the most common error includes IRS EIN Reference Number 101.

A message will pop up on the screen that states:

We are unable to provide you with an EIN. We apologize for the inconvenience but based on the information provided we are unable to provide you with an EIN through this online assistant.

When you receive a reference number 101, it means that the IRS has found another business entity name that is too similar to your LLC name. Even though the name you’ve chosen is unique in the state where you’ve formed your LLC, it might be similar to a business’s name from another state.

You don’t need to be concerned because the IRS needs to review the filing manually, and you have to apply with Form SS-4.

Solution: To resolve an EIN Error 101, you must file Form SS-4 by fax or by mail, as the IRS will need to review your EIN application manually. If you’ve formed an LLC, include your approved LLC filing form, such as Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation, along with Form SS-4.

EIN Reference Number 102 (SSN/ITIN Number)

Reference number 102 arises when there is a mismatch in the SSN or an error with the Responsible Party’s name and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

Solution: Try reapplying the EIN Online Application and make sure the SSN or ITIN is correct. Afterward, if the 102 IRS error message arises, you should file Form SS-4 by fax or mail.

EIN Reference Number 103 (Existing PIN Error)

If you see Reference number 103, it means there is an EIN and company name mismatch. For example, you have entered an existing company as the EIN Responsible Party and the records don’t match.

Solution: Try reapplying for the EIN Online Application and make sure that the entered details are correct. If you still receive reference number 103, you need to file Form SS-4 by fax or mail.

EIN Reference Number 104 (Third-Party Designee Conflict)

Reference 104 means that a third-party designee (a company or person who assists in obtaining an EIN) has entered conflicting contact information. The IRS doesn’t allow a Third-Party Designee to have identical IRS EIN contact information as the LLC, especially an address (physical or mailing) and a phone number.

Solution: Try reapplying for the EIN Online Application and make sure that the Third-Party Designee’s contact information is their own, not the same as the LLC’s.

EIN Reference Number 105 (Too Many Attempts)

If you see reference number 105, it means that you have tried too many times to receive the EIN online (using the same SSN, ITIN, or EIN), each leading to error IRS codes/references.

Solution: You must wait 24 hours and try the EIN Online Application again. If you fail, then try filing Form SS-4 by mail or fax.

EIN Reference Number 106 (Single-Member LLC without EIN)

If Reference Number 106 pops up, it means that your Single-Member LLC (which has employees) doesn’t have a Sole Proprietorship EIN yet.

The IRS treats single-member LLCs as sole proprietorships by default. If you don’t have an election, your single-member LLC will be treated as a sole proprietorship—so you don’t need a separate EIN unless you have employees or are required to file excise tax returns.

Solution: Contact the IRS EIN customer service to resolve this kind of problem.

EIN Reference Number 107 (Single Member LLC with Too Many EINs)

Reference 107 means that the Single-Member LLC (which has employees) has more than one Sole Proprietorship EIN.

The owners of single-member LLCs aren’t required to have separate EINs because they aren’t considered employees of the LLC by the IRS. But if your single-member LLC has other employees, you’re required to obtain an EIN and file employment taxes.

Solution: For this kind of problem, the best solution is to contact the IRS.

EIN Reference Number 109-113 (Technical Errors)

Reference numbers 109-113 indicate that there are IRS technical difficulties with the EIN Online Application. Unlike the other reference numbers, this doesn’t mean that you cannot receive an EIN.

Solution: Try the Online Application again after 24 hours. If you still get an IRS error message, you need to contact the IRS or use Form SS-4 for applying again.

EIN Reference Number 114 (Maximum EINs Per Day)

If you see Reference number 114, it means that the Responsible Party has already been granted an EIN for that day. (An IRS Responsible Party can only be assigned one EIN daily.)

Solution: You can apply again online after 24 hours.

EIN Reference Number 115 (Date of Death For Responsible Party)

If Reference number 115 is displayed, it means that the system runs a date of death inquiry on the Responsible Party, and it comes back specifying that party as deceased.

Solution: You should contact the IRS EIN customer service if the Responsible Party is not deceased. They will probably require further documentation to prove this, or they could request for you to file Form SS-4 by fax or mail instead.

Key Takeaways

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify business entities.
EIN reference numbers (error numbers) that you may encounter include 101, 102, 109, 113, 114, 155, and many more
When applying for an EIN online, the most common error received is IRS EIN Reference Number 101.
Reference number 102 arises when there is a mismatch in the SSN or an error with the Responsible Party’s name and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Reference numbers 109-113 indicate that there are technical issues with the EIN Online Application. But, unlike the other reference numbers, this doesn’t mean that you can’t obtain an EIN.

Conclusion

Without an EIN, you cannot open business accounts with banks or apply for credit. And you might be able to hire employees or establish a credit file. If you have problems with these reference numbers, you must directly communicate with the IRS via fax, mail, or phone and ask for IRS EIN help and deal with the problem correctly.

FAQ

Can you be denied an EIN number?

An EIN can be denied if your business already has one. You’re permitted only one (permanent) EIN per business—unless extensive changes occur, such as modifying the business’s structure.

How do I fix error 101 on IRS forms?

To fix an EIN reference number 101, you need to file Form SS-4 by fax or mail, as the IRS will need to review your EIN application manually.

What does reference number 101 mean when applying for an EIN?

It means that the IRS has found another business entity name that is too similar to your LLC name. Even though the name you’ve chosen is unique in the state where you’ve formed your LLC, it might be similar to a business’s name from another state.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I’m an entrepreneur by profession and an artist by passion. I do business to pay the bills and make music to bring the thrills. Thanks to a bachelor in Business Administration, I'm well-versed in all things business. Owning a construction company certainly helps, too, but it also brings out my love for building and home protection.

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