About two years ago, I began building a side business doing IT consulting, which never actually took off because I got so busy with my day job. In the process of building the side business, I opened a business account at the same bank that manages my personal account and I seem to recall they wanted me to have both a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and a Fictitious Business Name before I opened the account (honestly, I don't really remember). I applied for my Fictitious Business Name through the Los Angeles County clerks office and, once that was filed, I contacted the IRS to get my TIN and they gave me my Employer Identification Number (EIN), that was filed under my name, along with the name of the business I was starting at the time.
That was two years, since then, I haven't earned a penny from that business (since I never actually started it) and I haven't done a single thing with my EIN or Fictitious Business Name. I still have both and I've moved to Austin, TX to start a new business as an independent mobile application developer. I'm once again at the process of building a completely different and new business, starting with opening a business account at my bank to keep my finances organized. I've decided to operate as a DBA since I don't need to incorporate, but I'm still really fuzzy on the concepts of TINs and DBAs. My questions are...
- In order to clean up my old business that never got started (only on paper), I'm going to file to abandon the fictitious business name through the LA county clerks office, but can I keep the same EIN and use it for my new business? I called the IRS and one of the dudes there told me that I keep my EIN forever, as long as I operate as a DBA. I would have left it at that, except I was just looking at the letter the IRS sent me to tell me what my EIN was and I saw that the letter included my name and old business name, so I'm concerned that my old business name is somehow tied to my EIN and I need to remove that connection before I start a new business. Your thoughts?
- I'm about to apply for a new fictitious business name (or assumed name) in my new location. Can anyone explain to me what it's used for? The only reason I'm applying for it is so I can open a business account at my bank, but other than that, I don't know what I need it for. Your thoughts?
- When signing up with some ad networks and software distributors that I'll be using for my new business, they asked for my "EIN or SSN". Do I even need an EIN or could I have just used my SSN all this time since they're both considered TINs? Would using one over the other simply my tax filings? Do I have to use one over the other now that I have both?
- I see many independent software engineers selling their software and doing business under their actual name and I was planning to do the same (unlike my last business where I was planning to do business under a fictitious name). Based on my understanding of a DBA, is there any reason I need to file for a DBA if I'm planning to do business under my actual name? Sorry if this is a silly question.
I'm clearly confused and I thank you so much for you wisdom! Sorry for lengthy post, I tried to keep it concise :)