Oh crap...need more EINs!
August 29, 2010 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Yes, I made up fake information...I'm trying to make it right, and I know I can make it right with $300 for new LLCs. But is there any cheaper way?

Life has been pretty shitty the past year for my wife and I (like it has been for a lot of people), and since I was laid off at work and have had to find whatever work I can (again, like a lot of people). Fortunately, I got some (very legit) work with a big company just after the start of this year where I telecommute 100% of the time along with several thousand other folks (think call-center type work...not glamorous, but it puts food on the table). The nature of the work makes me basically anonymous, which is nice, and which allowed me to do something that's caused a tricky situation tax-wise.

To help make sure that I could get enough work to keep us afloat, I applied for this company more than once for various positions and got accepted to all of them. Since each position is limited in the amount of work it can do (for the first 60 days), applying for multiple positions and doing work for multiple positions was the only way (at the time) that I could get enough work collected up to make sure we could pay the bills. (Just fyi, this practice isn't explicitly forbidden with the company, but I bet if I were to email them and ask, they would tell me that it's forbidden...hence why I never asked. :X)

In the process of doing this, I filled out random information for 3 of my 4 applications, including filling in random digits for the SSN/EIN spots on the 3.

Yes, I know, stupid of me to do, but when it's a choice between doing that or (quite literally) being kicked out on the street, I chose the former.

Now, I'm not trying to steal from the government and I'm trying to make things right, so I'm going to rectify the situation. I can simply contact the company and have them change the information on file for the 3 profiles that are using fake info, so my plan is to give them real EIN's that are attached to LLC's that I'll register so that I can file taxes on everything I've earned and be honest and upfront with the G-ment. (The company I'm working for doesn't care if you give them an EIN or an SSN, so they'll accept an EIN change to the account {along with a change to the business name/address} just fine.)

However, in doing so I want to save as much money as possible, which leads to my question:

Do I need to register a new LLC for every EIN that I need (I need 3, to be precise, since I have 4 "positions" with the company and only 1 is under my SSN) or is there a way for me to get more EIN's attached to myself (personally) or to one LLC (I register one LLC and get 3 EINs for it)? It's going to cost $100 each for the LLCs, and while I'll gladly pay that $300 if I have to, I wanted to see if there were any cheaper options.

Googling for "multiple eins" and various variations has turned up nothing for me, so I'm turning to the hivemind for this. Thanks in advance. Please don't berate me for this...it sucks, I know that, and I've stopped working with the fake profiles since I proved myself and have since been able to do enough work on my real one that I don't need to use the fake ones, but I want to make sure I'm honest about taxes.

I'm also trying to be proactive and take care of this now instead of waiting until December to try and juggle everything around. It's easier to spread $300 over a couple months rather than trying to come up with it in just a few days.

Sorry for the length of this...just wanted to cover all the bases since it's anon for obvious reasons. I live in Virginia.

(Please don't tell me how bad it was to use fake information...I know it could get me in trouble, that's why I'm making it right....)
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Let me be short and to the point: get a lawyer, now. Like today, even though it's a Sunday. Explain what you have done and work out a disclosure plan. Some government agencies will take voluntary self-disclosure as a mitigating factor for fines and penalties, you want to take maximum advantage of that.
posted by tommasz at 8:33 AM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

What tommasz says. I am not judging you on the choices you made, and I believe that you are, as you say, "not trying to steal from the government," but your actions to date will look suspicious at best to the government as well as to your employer. It is very much in your interest to have someone acting as your advocate and helping you make this right when they find out. (That's "when," not "if.") Get a lawyer right now.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 8:41 AM on August 29, 2010

Please go speak with a lawyer, and figure out how to disclose to the government. Years ago, someone used my SSN. This made MY taxes a complicated mess, because there were W2s with my SSN that showed money I hadn't earned. Also, the process of correcting a number once W2s have been issued is very labor intensive.
posted by Zophi at 8:53 AM on August 29, 2010

Let me be short and to the point: get a lawyer, now. Like today, even though it's a Sunday.

Nagger, PLEASE . . . .

Don't flip out. This is an ugly situation, and I would be careful with this, and seek legal advice, but this kind of crap is what makes people go to emergency rooms for a rehab. Free legal advice may be available through a public or law school legal clinic. Right now you have certainly lied to your employer; you are not yet in the thornier position of misleading the IRS or the SSA.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:05 AM on August 29, 2010

Please see a lawyer. This is a very clear example of lying to cover your lies. You can see the first mistake but you don't seem to see the problem covering like this. No good will come of it in the end. You will be much better off to explain what happened, take your licks, and go from there. You need a lawyer to do these things (or, I suppose, a lawyer to help you cover your tracks - but that'll be a different sort of lawyer).
posted by ish__ at 9:08 AM on August 29, 2010

Clyde Mnestra: uhh, if his employer is witholding taxes or social security against his fraudulently supplied SSNs, then I think he has misled the IRS and/or SSA. Since this has been since the beginning of the year - his employer HAS withheld.
posted by ish__ at 9:12 AM on August 29, 2010

From the OP:
Please thank Clyde for his non-freakout advice. The job is actually 1099'd, so there's no withholding mess to worry about.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:16 AM on August 29, 2010

ish: thanks, thought of that as soon as I posted. What I meant is that he hasn't directly filed anything with those agencies; I know that there are specific penalties for that misrepresentation. Perhaps they also apply to the other forms. It had been my impression that errors on withholding forms were more easily corrected, but I could be wrong.

Still, my point was that such misrepresentations, even if purposeful, are not typically addressed on Sundays and bank holidays . . . not that he shouldn't seek legal advice.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:18 AM on August 29, 2010

You can give the IRS a call and ask them about the EINs. I had to do that recently because I couldn't find my EIN and they created a new one for me on the spot and gave it to me over the phone, with a confirmation letter in the mail.

Now...the thing is that that EIN is attached to my SSN. I can have multiple business/DBAs under that EIN. Presumably, if you are founding multiple companies you can multiple EINs but the IRS might question it if you're founding 3 similar companies in the same industry.
posted by eatcake at 11:00 AM on August 29, 2010

IANAL, but the instructions for IRS Form SS-4 say
Generally, a sole proprietor should file only one Form SS-4 and needs only one EIN, regardless of the number of businesses operated as a sole proprietorship or trade names under which a business operates. However, if the proprietorship incorporates or enters into a partnership, a new EIN is required.
So incorporating multiple businesses would require you to get multiple EINs, but given the use of "generally", "should", and "needs", I don't think they prohibit you from getting multiple EINs for multiple unincorporated sole-proprietorships.

I'd say, just go ahead and make up names for multiple businesses and get an EIN for each; don't even bother incorporating LLCs. Each sole-proprietor EIN application will have your SSN on it, but your employer won't know that. The IRS just wants to get paid and as long as the numbers add up they won't bother you; whereas if you don't fix the fake-EIN situation, they're going to have unmatched 1099s and they may come looking.
posted by nicwolff at 1:59 PM on August 29, 2010

Yeah, so, um. You've committed fraud, most likely. Get a lawyer.
posted by thesmophoron at 10:41 PM on August 29, 2010

Seconding the information here, get a lawyer, but you don't need an LLC to get an EIN, a sole proprietorship can have an EIN. I've got my SS# and my sole prop has an EIN. I'm not a tax lawyer, but nothing I've ever seen says you can't have multiple sole props each with their own EIN, just like you intend to have multiple LLCs.
posted by Brian Puccio at 12:54 AM on September 6, 2010

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