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?