I recently had to apply for a Federal Identification Number (FIN, TPIN or EIN - they are all the same) from the IRS for my beloved mother-in-law’s estate. She died in NH on 3/16/11. The family was in grief. When we met with the estate attorney, he indicated that we needed to get a Federal Identification Number from the IRS for her estate since her social security number could no longer be used. Fortunately, I am a tax CPA and am familiar with this process. I know it can be obtained online immediately and it is free. Unfortunately, I was not in my office, had no assistant to help me and did not have my IRS practitioners number that would streamline the process. No big deal.
I got online and googled ‘Apply for Federal Identification Number from the IRS’ and immediately received several links of services available to assist me with obtaining a FIN for a fee. The first link would get me the FIN the same day for $150. I was stunned. I thought how many people are in our shoes,
This angered me. No, this infuriated me. How do these crooks get top ratings from Google? How is their link the first one that appears? Is it because so many people click on their link not knowing any better and pay the $150. Or, do these services pay google a fee for advertising their service which rates them higher than a legitimate service. There is no internet police that screens these companies that make money off of other people’s misfortunes.
You can also download the IRS form to apply for a FIN (Form SS-4), fill it out and mail it to the IRS or fax it. You will receive the FIN by snail mail, but it is still free.
Oh, by the way, if you need a Dun & Bradstreet Number (D&B), it is also free; however, you will get the same links & pop-ups that will charge you to get it today. Don’t fall for it.
DON'T LEAVE YOURSELF NAKED TO THESE SERVICES. BE SMART. DO YOUR RESEARCH. EDUCATE YOURSELF.