I previously operated my consulting business as a sole proprietor operating under my own name, using my SSN on W9 forms, etc. I have since registered an LLC and am starting to bring in clients. I have not elected this LLC to corporate status.
In 2011, the W-9 form changed its format and the "Limited Liability Company" tax classification no longer allows for the option "D" for disregarded entities. According to this website, I am to fill out the W-9 using my own information and SSN as a sole proprietor.
There is also the option to provide an EIN instead of a SSN, which I'd rather do simply to ensure the safety of my SSN. However, this EIN has to be associated with the entity on the "Name" line, not the "Business Name," so I can't use the EIN of my LLC here.
My next step was to apply for a sole proprietor's EIN at the IRS website, and here's where the trouble started. According to the IRS EIN application page:
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.
Am I correct to assume that the EIN generated through this process as a sole proprietor would not be suitable for my purposes? In which case, do I really have any other option than using my SSN?
Maybe I'm mixing up my entities here, but I'd really like a bit of clarification.