I'm a freelance web developer and file taxes on income I receive from my freelance projects on my personal tax returns. I requested and received an EIN number from the IRS so that if I needed to give out my W9 to any clients, I don't have to share my SSN for security reasons.

One client's CPA that I sent my W9 to is saying that since I provided an EIN on my W9, I need to provide the associated company name to them to properly file on their end. However, I never set up a company name associated with my EIN since these are just freelance projects on the side.

I reviewed the letter from the IRS when they provided the EIN number and there is no mention of a company name. The letter does mention that "your name control associated with this EIN is <first 4 letters of my last name>".

From all my research so far, all I can find is why and who can get an EIN, but it's unclear to me if I do in fact need a company name (such as an LLC) associated with it. I thought my name and EIN would suffice since I don't have an LLC and no employees.

Any thoughts?

  • 2
    You only need to fill line 2 if your business name doesn't match your official name. There's no requirement for a sole proprietor to have a "business name". The CPA is wrong. Point them to the W9 instructions re line 2 and Part I.
    – littleadv
    Jan 19, 2023 at 1:40
  • Thank you. That is how I interpreted the W9 instructions as well. "If you are a sole proprietor and you have an EIN, you may enter either your SSN or EIN."
    – scferg5
    Jan 19, 2023 at 2:25

1 Answer 1


With a sole proprietorship, you and the business are the same entity, so unless you want to work under a different name using a fictitious business name or DBA (doing business as - a lot of states require some sort of application or registration of a DBA), your full legal name is your company's name.

  • 1
    Thank you, that was my understanding as well given the W9 instructions.
    – scferg5
    Jan 19, 2023 at 2:26

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