Q: I'm starting a business as a sole proprietor. I don't plan to have any employees. Do I need an employee identification number, or can I just use my Social Security number?

A: You probably need an EIN. You'll need this number to open a business bank account or start a qualified retirement plan for yourself. And should you have employees in the future, you'll need the number at that time. To obtain an EIN, file Form SS-4 with the IRS (you can even get a number assigned to you over the phone by following the instructions on the form).

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