Know Your Business Identification Numbers

Obtain An Employer Identification Number

What is an Employer Identification Number?

An Employer Identification Number, or EIN, is like a Social Security Number, but for your business. You might also see an EIN referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number, FTIN or TIN. It helps both you, and those you do business with, identify your business as a unique entity.

Why does my business need an EIN?

US businesses require an EIN for a variety of reasons. An EIN helps the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, identify your business quickly and easily. If you want to do business with the City or any other governmental agency, you will need an EIN to complete various forms and applications.

How do I obtain an EIN?

EINs are easy to obtain, and entirely free. They are issued by the IRS. The application to obtain an EIN can be completed online. Simply visit IRS Website - Employer ID Numbers and click “Apply for an EIN Online."

You can also apply for an EIN via fax, mail or phone, but the process will generally take a little longer. The directions for each of these methods can be found on this page.

How long does it take to obtain an EIN?

The online application to obtain an EIN takes a matter of minutes. After you have completed the application successfully, an EIN will be issued to you right away. However, please note that the online EIN service is only available on weekdays between 6AM and 9PM Central Time.

Applying for an EIN via fax takes about a week, while applying by mail takes between four and five weeks.

Identify Your Industry Codes

In this section, we’ll learn a little bit about NAICS and NIGP codes, and why they are important for your business.

What are NAICS and NIGP codes?

Industry codes, also referred to as NAICS and NIGP codes, help describe what your business does. For example, if your business is a barber shop, then your NAICS code is 812111, and your NIGP code is 95210.

Why does my business need NAICS and NIGP codes?

Cities and government agencies use industry codes for things like taxation and licensing, which means you’ll need them in order to do business with the City of Mobile. These codes help the government quickly and correctly identify what your business does. Many of the forms you’ll encounter in this process will require an industry code.

What is the difference between an NAICS and an NIGP code?

The Federal Government uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code to classify businesses. The CIty of Mobile uses National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) codes to classify its vendors. You will need both an NAICS and an NIGP code to register your business with the City.

How can I identify the NAICS and NIGP codes for my business?

You can determine the NAICS and NIGP codes for your business in just a few clicks. Visit the City’s Industry Code Search, type in a few keywords, and select up to three codes that best describe what your business does.

Get a DUNS Number

In this section, we’ll learn a little bit about DUNS numbers, and why they are important for bidding on City contracts.

What is a DUNS number?

Like an EIN, a DUNS number is a unique identifier for your business, however DUNS numbers are issued by a private company, Dun & Bradstreet. When you obtain a new DUNS number, Dun & Bradstreet starts a record for you business that is similar to a credit report.

Why does my business need a DUNS number?

A DUNS number allows cities, banks and other businesses to review your business’s reliability, and helps them decide whether or not to do business with you.

How can I obtain a DUNS number?

You can obtain a DUNS number for free by visiting the Dun & Bradstreet website.

How long does it take to obtain a DUNS number?

Applying for a DUNS number online typically takes just a few minutes. After you have completed the application successfully, you should receive a DUNS number within 1-2 business days.