Freelance Writer EIN - Do You Need One?

Do freelance writers need an EIN?

Probably not - but I'm not a tax professional, I'm a writer - and I can't give that kind of advice.  Check with the IRS to make sure.

What is an EIN?

An EIN is a Federal tax identification number (it stands for Employer Identification Number), and you can use it in lieu of your Social Security Number when clients require it.* 

*Clients will require it when they pay you over $600 in one year as a contractor - they have to report that they didn't tax you as an employee and that you're the one who's going to pay the taxes on that money.

Can a freelance writer have an EIN?

Anyone can have an EIN, so if you'd rather not pass your SSN out to clients, you can apply for one with the IRS.

When do freelance writers need an EIN?

If you're contracting a lot of work to other freelance writers, you might need an EIN.  Again, check with the IRS to be sure.

Getting an EIN for a Freelance Writing Business

If you decide you need an EIN, you can apply for one through the IRS website.  Make sure you follow all their directions correctly (you know how government paperwork can be).

When you started out, did you decide you needed an EIN as a freelance writer? 

"Tax" image courtesy of Woodsy at

© Angie Papple Johnston, 2010; if you are reading this anywhere but on or Gather, it's been pirated away by someone who's probably using it to fill otherwise awful pages. :)