A revocable trust is a legal device that allows a grantor to donate property to a group of beneficiaries, but to have those assets managed by a trustee. The grantor retains the right to take the property back from the trust at any time. The revocable trust is required to file an annual tax return, but the grantor is responsible for paying any taxes on income generated by the trust's assets. Most revocable trusts require an employer identification number, or an EIN.
Go to the IRS website. The IRS provides an EIN Assistant that helps you prepare your application.
Complete the online application. You will need the contact information and social security numbers for the trustee and grantor. Select the box that says the EIN is for a revocable trust. Answer all of the questions and follow the instructions.
Check the form to ensure that the information is recorded correctly. Press the submit button. The trust’s EIN is assigned immediately after the online form is completed.
Apply By Phone
Gather the information necessary to apply for an EIN. You need the trustee's and grantor's social security number and contact information.
Call the Business & Specialty Tax line at 800-829-4933. The line is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. your local time, Monday through Friday your local time.
Identify yourself as a third-party designee to the IRS agent if you are not the grantor. You will be required to submit a completed SS-4 by fax. The agent will provide a number where you will send the form.
Answer the agent's questions. Once the questions have been answered, the agent will provide an EIN over the phone. If you are a third-party designee, the agent will give you an EIN after he receives your SS-4.
Apply by Fax or Mail with SS-4
Download Form SS-4 from the IRS website. You can also call 1-800-TAX-FORM, and receive a form within 10 business days.
Write the legal name of the trust on line 1 of the SS-4. The legal name is in the trust agreement, which is the document that created the trust and established its terms. Record the name of the trustee on line 3 of the form and his address on line 4.
Write down the name of the grantor on line 7 and record her social security number on line 7b. Check the trust box and record the grantor's social security number on line 9a.
Check the "trust" box and write "revocable trust" on line 10. Record when the trust first received property from the grantor on line 11. On line 12, record the last month of the trust's taxable year. Write "N/A" on line 15. Check the "other" box and write "provide support to trust beneficiaries" on the line 16.
Check if the trust has ever applied for an EIN before. If it has, check the yes box and record the prior EIN on line 18. If not, check the no box.
Complete the third-party designee section of the SS-4, if you are not the trust grantor but are completing the SS-4. Provide your name and contact information in the space provided.
Ask the trustee to sign and date the bottom of the SS-4.
Fax the SS-4 to the attention of "EIN Operation." If your trust is located within the US, fax the form to 859-669-5760. If the trust isn't located in the US, fax the form to 267-941-1040. You will receive an EIN within 4 business days.
Mail the SS-4 to the attention of "EIN Operation." If your trust is located within the US, send the form to Cincinnati, OH, 45999. If the trust is not based in the US, send the form to Philadelphia, PA, 19255-0525. You will receive an EIN within 4 weeks.
The grantor is the "responsible party" for the trust since he effectively controls the trust's assets. As such, he is only permitted to apply for one EIN per day.
Revocable trusts do not need to obtain an EIN while the grantor is a trustee and receives all income from the trust.
- Internal Revenue Service: Do You Need a New EIN?
- Estate Planning With Living Trusts: Tax Identification Numbers and Fiduciary Income Tax Returns for Trusts
- Internal Revenue Service: How to Apply for an EIN.
- Internal Revenue Service: Instructions for Form 1041 – U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts
- Internal Revenue Service: Instructions for Form SS-4
John Cromwell specializes in financial, legal and small business issues. Cromwell holds a bachelor's and master's degree in accounting, as well as a Juris Doctor. He is currently a co-founder of two businesses.