How to Get a Tax ID Number for an Estate or Trust

When you open an Estate or set up certain kinds of trusts, you’ll need to obtain a Tax Identification Number (also called an Employer Identification Number or EIN) from the IRS. Just like your Social Security number is linked to your bank accounts and investments so that any income you earn on those monies is reported to the Internal Revenue Service, an Estate or trust needs its own identification number.  The IRS issues those Tax ID numbers or EINs for free on the IRS website – you just need to answer some questions about the Estate or Trust and then the number is automatically generated. You’ll need to take that number to the bank when you set up a new account in the name of the Estate or Trust.

Obtaining an EIN or Tax ID number is free.

Unfortunately, when you search “Tax ID number” online, the first results to pop up are ads for websites that charge $200 or more to obtain the EIN for you. Don’t fall for this scam! Obtaining an EIN or Tax ID number is free. Make sure you click on the official IRS website that ends in .gov and not a site that ends in .com.

Consult an Attorney or Accountant if you’re not sure how to complete the EIN application.

When you complete the EIN online application, you’ll need to answer some important questions about the accounting year for the estate. Consult the attorney and/or accountant who’s helping you with your estate administration to make sure you select the appropriate option.  If you need help administering an estate in North Carolina, feel free to reach out to us at 919-863-4183.

Amanda Spence has been assisting clients with Probate and Estate Administration in Raleigh, North Carolina since 1995. If you need help with an estate matter, contact Ms. Spence by telephone at (919) 863-4183 or by email at