Does using my Federal TIN or EIN to set up business accounts link me personally to those transactions?

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2011

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Does using my Federal TIN or EIN to set up business accounts link me personally to those transactions?

If I am a business owner (with a C-corp) and I set up a business account with my vendors and suppliers using only my Federal TINor EIN, is that number linked to me personally? Meaning if someone tried to file a suit against my business for a transaction gone wrong will I be personally liable?Although that number is not my SSN, I still have to input my social and personal information to apply for the TIN/EIN. Does it link me personally to my business transactions?

Asked on July 14, 2011 under Business Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The issue is not whether people can identify that you are the business owner--that has no bearing on it. If you have a c-corporation (or, for that matter, s-corp or limited liability company) and it is the corporation that signs the contracts, takes out the loans, etc., then you are not personally liable for them. The whole point of a corporation or LLC is to limit owner liability; as long as the debt or obligation is incurred by the company and not you in your personal capacity, you will not be responsible. The protection is not absolute--certain tax or wage and hour (if you don't pay employees right) debts will attach to you personally; if you personally do something tortious, even in the course of working for your company, you can be personally sued (e.g. if you are driving a company car and run into someone, you could be liable as driver); and if you personally guaranty a loan or debt, that guaranty is enforceable. However, those are the exceptions; as a general matter, conducting busines through your corporation will insulate you from personal liability.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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