Starting May 13, an important change will affect the way it issues employer identification numbers or EINs. Only individuals with tax identification numbers - either a Social Security number (SSN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) - will be able to request an employer identification number. The change is being made to enhance the security of tax information. With identity theft on the rise in the business community, the agency also offered business taxpayers tips and resources for protecting their data from theft.  
The IRS says the new requirement will provide greater security to the EIN process by requiring an individual to be the responsible party and will also improve transparency. An EIN is a nine-digit tax identification number assigned to sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, employee retirement plans and other entities for tax filing and reporting purposes.
 
The change prohibits entities from using their own EINs to obtain additional EINs. The new requirement applies to both the paper Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number (PDF), and online EIN applications.