As of 1/1/2014, the IRS has revised its process for issuing EINs. The phone in option has been removed. Therefore, if an EIN is not issued using the online application, the only option is to fax the application to the IRS. The IRS then issues the EIN via fax within 4-7 business days.
There are several reasons why the online EIN application may not work:
(1) The company name may be considered too common by the IRS.
(2) If the responsible company in line 7 received its EIN using the online EIN application system, the IRS will not issue an online EIN to the subsidiary.
(3) The IRS web site is down – which unfortunately is not a rare occurrence.
If the responsible party, be it an individual or corporation is a foreign entity, the only way to obtain an EIN is to phone in the application. This process has not changed.
New companies with a responsible party who is a US citizen or company, moving forward more lead time may be required in order to obtain EINs.