What does reference number 102, 103, 105, or 108 mean when applying for an EIN online?

Reference number 102, 103, or 108 typically means that the responsible party’s information has been entered incorrectly and doesn’t match IRS records. Reference number 105 is reported to mean that you’ve made too many attempts in one day. The IRS provides the same instructions for how to proceed regardless of whether you received reference number 102, 103, 105, or 108. While the IRS hasn’t published what each reference number (sometimes referred to as an error code) means specifically, people generally report that they mean the following:

  • 102 – There’s a mismatch between the responsible party’s name and their US taxpayer ID (SSN or ITIN).
  • 103 – You’ve entered an entity instead of an individual as the responsible party. The responsible party must be an individual, not an entity.
  • 105 – You’ve made too many attempts in one day (using the same SSN, ITIN, or EIN) to obtain the EIN online.
  • 108 – The meaning of this reference number is unknown.

Remember that the “responsible party” is defined by the IRS as someone who controls, manages, and directs the startup.

What To Do

  1. Double check that you’ve entered the correct information for the responsible party, especially their name and their SSN or ITIN.
  2. Submit the application again.
  3. If the IRS still says they can't provide an EIN online, apply by fax instead.
Need to apply via fax?

You can use Clerky to do it completely online. Just answer a few simple questions, sign the application electronically, and we'll fax it for you. We'll notify you as soon as we get the EIN from the IRS.

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