TIN to use on W9 when Single Member LLC/Disregarded entity


I own a state-classified LLC company and also have an EIN for the business, which was filed on an SS-4 form (Rev. December 2001) as a Type "Other" and noted "disregarded entity". On the SS-4 form the Legal Name field is "Company LLC", which matches the state registered name. I assume that the EIN is for the company, as opposed for me as a sole proprietor, despite my identifying the business as LLC disregarded entity.

OK - on the latest W-9 form and instructions (Rev. Jan. 2011), it now appears I need to use my SSN (on the previous Oct. 2007 W9 I used to simply list my EIN). Now the new W-9 form has these instruction:

If you are a sole proprietor and you have an EIN, you may enter either
your SSN or EIN. However, the IRS prefers that you use your SSN. If
you are a single-member LLC that is disregarded as an entity separate
from its owner (see Limited Liability Company (LLC) on page 2), enter
the owner’s SSN (or EIN, if the owner has one). Do not enter the
disregarded entity’s EIN. If the LLC is classified as a corporation or
partnership, enter the entity’s EIN.
But in my line of business, an online business, I provide a completed and signed W9 to customers upon invoicing. I couldn't dare to use my SSN for fear of ID theft (especially being the victim of one in the past). So I figured that I should apply for a "sole proprietor" EIN, but on the IRS's online EIN form application, they have the following regarding sole proprietors:
A sole proprietor is one individual who owns a company that is not
incorporated or registered with the state as a limited liability
company (LLC). Sole proprietors may or may not have employees
If I'm reading the form instructions correctly, it almost seems to me the IRS didn't account for scenarios as mine (ie, single member LLC needing to file for an EIN as a sole proprietor to avoid giving his SSN).

Am I missing something here? What have you done in this case?

LLC Tax USA Sole Proprietorship

asked Feb 27 '13 at 12:30
11 points
Get up to $750K in working capital to finance your business: Clarify Capital Business Loans

2 Answers


I found my best "answer" here: Filling out a W9 as a Single Member LLC In short, the IRS contradicts itself with the form instruction. I guess I could call them but don't see the purpose - clearly it's an issue.

answered Feb 27 '13 at 22:35
11 points


  1. Anyone can apply for an EIN for themselves as a sole proprietor; you can use this EIN in place of your SSN. You do not need to file anything else, although when filling out the SS-4, specify that you anticipate zero employees, etc.
  2. Unless a client complains, nothing stops you from using the older format of W-9. I've used a pre-filled-out W-9 on the 11/2005 revision of the form that I just email or fax to clients.
answered Aug 27 '13 at 04:27
Vegan Taxidermist
1 point

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LLC Tax USA Sole Proprietorship