I have been in the process of setting clients to be able to e-file their Form 941s. This makes life so much easier for my clients since they won’t have to deal with paper copies and the postal service. However, the one thing I have run into is the fact that there are Name Controls that have been assigned to each company. What exactly is a name control? Where do I find this information? Please, read on. I have some information to help answer these questions for you.
First, what exactly is a Name Control? It is a unique (and I use that term very loosely) sequence of characters that identifies your business. When e-filing business returns, the Name Control and the EIN must match what the IRS has on file. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to e-file the return(s) until the information is correct. You could choose to file a paper-copy of the return, which defeats the purpose of e-filing. It is important to know this information for e-filing purposes.
So, where do I find this information? That was a very interesting question for myself and those I am working with. I read it could be found on the SS-4 (the letter that the IRS sends to a business that tells the business what their EIN is). So, we found an SS-4 letter and searched for the Name Control. It is a little tricky to find that information since the IRS doesn’t tell you that is what it is. On the second page of the letter, at the very top, there is a bunch of information. The first part of the line is simple “(IRS USE ONLY)”. This is followed by some spaces, a number combination then a bunch more spaces. After the this second set of spaces, you will see a date in the mm-dd-yyyy format. Then, and this is where you need to look, the Name Control is found. I have included a sample of where to find this information at the bottom of this blog.
What is the typical process for determining the Name Control. It is really pretty simple, but not a guarantee. Typically it is only manufactured with letters and numbers. However, they do use the ampersand (&) and hyphen (-). So with this information, you can pretty well figure out what your Name Control will be. Look at the first 4 characters of your business name. Ignore any spaces and any special characters (with the exception of what is listed above). If the company name is A&B Consulting, the likely Name Control would be A&BC. If the company name is 4th Street Publishing, the likely Name Control would be 4THS. If the company name is Smith Construction, the likely Name Control would be SMIT. I have seen where this is not always the case, but it is the general rule of thumb. In fact, my business name is Crucial Collaborations, but my Name Control is not CRUC.
What if you can’t find your SS-4? That’s okay. The IRS has a number you can call to get your Name Control. You can call the IRS’ Business & Specialty Help Line at 800.829.4933. Be prepared, as any other time you call the IRS, to be on hold for a little bit. Once you reach an agent, they will ask you a bunch of questions to verify who you are and then once they are satisfied with the answers, they will give you the information you are seeking. If you are not the business owner, you will need to be sure to have a Power of Attorney on hand to send to them. This is Form 2848.
The preceding information can be verified by going to