Orange County California

Trust Attorneys


After your loved one dies, the estate administration begins. The estate itself will need to obtain its own tax identification number. This number is separate and distinct from the deceased loved one’s social security number. Fortunately, obtaining a tax ID number is not a difficult process.

Five Ways to Obtain an Estate’s Tax ID Number

Several methods can be used to obtain a tax ID number. Following is an overview:

  1. Apply for an ID number by mail. Applying by mail is relatively simple. Obtain the form, either from the IRS website or from your local IRS field agency. For example, there is an IRS field office conveniently located in Santa Ana. Complete the form and mail the original back to the IRS. You should have the tax ID number within four weeks.
  2. Apply for an ID number by telephone. A tax ID number can also be obtained by phone. Simply call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Helpline toll-free at (800) 829-4933. After completing the steps, you will then obtain a tax ID number right over the phone. The number can be used immediately.
  3. Apply for an ID number online. Another easy way to obtain a tax ID number for an estate is to apply online. After answering all of the questions, you will receive your ID instantaneously, and it can be used right away.
  4. Request that your accountant or CPA apply for an ID number on your behalf. Since some of the questions asked during the tax ID application process are tax-specific, some clients prefer to have professional assistance. The accountant or CPA who will be handling the estate’s tax returns will typically obtain a tax ID number on your behalf if you request it.
  5. Request that your attorney apply for an ID number on your behalf. Similarly, you may want to ask your estate administration attorney to obtain the tax ID number for the estate. If you do, he will likely have you complete a form that gives him the authority to apply for the ID on your behalf.

Regardless of the method that you choose, it is important to obtain the tax ID number early in the estate administration process. We would be happy to walk you through this process. Send us an email today for more information!

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