When applying for an employer identification number (“EIN“) on IRS.gov you must provide the legal name of the LLC that is applying for the EIN. The dilemma presented to applicants is that the name of the LLC on file with the Texas Secretary of State (and the one that should therefore be used) will not match the name of the particular series for which you are applying for an EIN. And if you have multiple series inside the LLC you will not be permitted to use the name of the LLC on subsequent applications for additional series.
For example, if the legal name of the LLC is MY COMPANY, LLC, a Texas limited liability company, then the legal name used for the EIN application is MY COMPANY LLC [notice the comma was omitted on the EIN application as IRS.gov does not permit the use of special characters). If, however, the legal name of the LLC is MY COMPANY, LLC, a Texas series limited liability company, then the same legal name is used as in the previous example (i.e., MY COMPANY LLC).
But what should you do if you are applying for an EIN for the first series of MY COMPANY, LLC? After all, banks require a separate EIN for each series and each series is a separate entity for all purposes.
My approach is to use both the series name and the LLC’s name in the EIN application. For illustration, let’s assume my series LLC’s legal name is MY CRE HOLDINGS CO., LLC, and let’s assume my first series is 123 MAIN ST., LLC, an individual series of MY CRE HOLDINGS CO., LLC, a Texas series LLC. Using this example, the legal name on the online EIN application would look like this:
123 MAIN ST LLC a series of MY CRE HOLDINGS CO a Texas series LLC
Notice that, like before, I’ve omitted the commas and periods (what the IRS calls “special characters” and prohibits in the online application). I have told the IRS that the company applying for the EIN is 123 MAIN ST LLC and that this company is a series of MY CRE HOLDINGS CO which is a Texas series LLC.
Now, when I apply for an EIN for 456 MAIN ST., LLC–the second series in my series LLC–I am able to (1) actually obtain an EIN for this individual series of the company and (2) notify the IRS that this company is a series of a Texas LLC.
Neither the IRS, nor the public, will find a Certificate of Formation in Texas for 123 MAIN STREET, LLC. What can be found, however, is an assumed name certificate for 123 Main Street, LLC that identifies it as a series of MY CRE HOLDINGS CO., LLC.
Until the IRS adds the Series LLC to the list of legal structures applying for the EIN–and addressing the many issues raised by using the LLC for a Series LLC in the current online application process–I believe this is the best approach to applying for EINs for a Series LLC. And one major pain point with the current system is the IRS’s limitation of one EIN per day per responsible party. It will take 3 days to apply for 3 series EINs (4 if the umbrella LLC also applies for an EIN).
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