Do You Need an EIN for Shopify: Essential Guide for Entrepreneurs

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is an EIN and Who Needs One?
  3. EIN for Shopify: The Requirements
  4. Benefits of Having an EIN for Your Shopify Store
  5. How to Apply for an EIN
  6. Conclusion
  7. FAQ

Entering the dynamic world of ecommerce can be both exciting and daunting for new entrepreneurs. One question that frequently arises among those launching a Shopify store is, "Do you need an EIN for Shopify?" It's a valid concern, especially for those looking to ensure their business operations are compliant from the get-go. This post aims to demystify the requirements around Employer Identification Numbers (EIN) for Shopify store owners, the benefits of obtaining one, and how it relates to your business success.


Imagine setting up your dream online store, curating products, and envisioning the success of your business, only to stumble upon the technicalities of tax IDs and EINs. It's a less glamorous, but crucial aspect of running a business that can't be overlooked. As the digital marketplace continues to grow, understanding the legal and financial frameworks of your ecommerce business becomes indispensable. This guide is your companion through the intricacies of determining whether your Shopify venture needs an EIN, and if so, how to go about securing one.

What is an EIN and Who Needs One?

Before diving into the specifics, let's clarify what an EIN is. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to businesses operating in the United States. It's used for tax filing and reporting purposes and is sometimes referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number.

But who needs one? If you're a sole proprietor without employees, operating under your name, you might not need an EIN; your Social Security Number (SSN) could suffice for tax purposes. However, once your business structure evolves or you hire employees, obtaining an EIN becomes necessary.

EIN for Shopify: The Requirements

Sole Proprietors and Single-Member LLCs

If you're running a Shopify store as a sole proprietor or a single-member LLC (Limited Liability Company) without any employees or excise tax obligations, you might not be immediately required to obtain an EIN. In these cases, your SSN can serve as your business's tax identifier. However, there are benefits to getting an EIN even for sole proprietors, such as enhanced privacy and professionalism.

Businesses with Employees

The game changes as soon as you hire employees. Shopify store owners with employees must obtain an EIN for tax reporting purposes. This is crucial for managing payroll taxes in compliance with federal regulations.

Multi-Member LLCs and Corporations

Operating as a partnership, a multi-member LLC, or a corporation inherently requires obtaining an EIN. These business structures are recognized as separate entities from their owners, necessitating a distinct tax ID number.

Selling Products and Collecting Sales Tax

Depending on your state's laws, collecting sales tax on the products you sell may require registering your business and obtaining an EIN. This step is essential for remitting collected sales tax to your state's department of revenue.

Benefits of Having an EIN for Your Shopify Store

Obtaining an EIN for your Shopify store goes beyond mere compliance. It positions your business for growth and added credibility in several ways:

  • Professionalism and Trust: Customers and suppliers may perceive your business as more legitimate and trustworthy.
  • Financial Separation: An EIN allows you to open a business bank account, separating personal and business finances for clearer bookkeeping and tax filing.
  • Credit Opportunities: Businesses with an EIN can build a credit profile, enhancing eligibility for loans or business credit cards.
  • Privacy Protection: Using an EIN instead of your SSN reduces personal identity theft risk.

How to Apply for an EIN

Fortunately, applying for an EIN is a straightforward and free process through the IRS website. Here's a brief overview:

  1. Prepare Necessary Information: Gather your business details, including the legal name, address, and Social Security Number or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) of the principal officer.
  2. Apply Online or Via Other Methods: The quickest way to obtain an EIN is through the IRS's online application. Alternatively, you can apply by fax, mail, or phone.
  3. Receive Your EIN: If applying online, you'll receive your EIN immediately. Other methods may take longer, from several days to weeks.

Do I Need an LLC for Shopify?

While Shopify itself does not require your business to be structured as an LLC, choosing this legal framework can offer significant benefits, including personal asset protection and potential tax advantages. If you decide to form an LLC, obtaining an EIN will be a necessary step in the process.


Navigating the decision of whether your Shopify store needs an EIN boils down to understanding your business structure and long-term goals. While not every small store operator will need one immediately, acquiring an EIN early can pave the way for smoother operations, financial management, and growth opportunities. Armed with clarity on the importance of an EIN, you're better positioned to make informed decisions that align with your business's success trajectory.


  1. Is an EIN mandatory for all Shopify stores?

    • No, not all Shopify stores need an EIN. It depends on your business structure and whether you have employees.
  2. Can I use my SSN instead of an EIN for my Shopify store?

    • Yes, sole proprietors without employees can use their SSN for tax purposes. However, obtaining an EIN might be beneficial for privacy and professionalism.
  3. How much does it cost to apply for an EIN?

    • The IRS provides EINs free of charge. Be wary of third-party services charging a fee for EIN application assistance.
  4. How long does it take to receive an EIN?

    • If applying online, you can receive your EIN immediately. Other methods, like mail or fax, may take several days to weeks.
  5. Do I need an EIN if I plan to sell internationally through my Shopify store?

    • While international sales might not directly require an EIN, having one could be advantageous for managing taxes and business finances effectively.