What You Need to Know About a Tax ID
When Hosting a Fundraiser

We know that most fundraiser hosts aren’t tax experts, and neither are we.  Frankly, you don’t need to be in order to partner with us.

how to get a tax id for a non-profit organization

Chipotle fundraisers are a fun and easy way to raise funds for new jerseys, a STEM project, or your local community garden, but there is a serious component to it: receiving the funds you worked so hard to raise! After all, we don’t want you to host an event and be unsure of how the funds will be disbursed. In this article, we’ll discuss the tax information we’re looking for and what you need, how the information is submitted, and how checks are written. We’ll also discuss turnaround time for checks and even how to sign up for your own federal tax ID number if your organization doesn’t have one yet. 501c3s, non-profits, tax exemptions, oh my — these may sound scary, but once you understand the base concept, you can get it done! We know that most fundraiser hosts aren’t tax experts, and neither are we.  Frankly, you don’t need to be in order to partner with us.

At Chipotle, we collect and verify all of your tax information on the front end, meaning you’ll know exactly how your fundraiser check will be written before your event is fully approved. In fact, we’ll show you a mock-up check with an example of how the actual check will be presented based on the tax information provided. If it doesn’t look correct, you have the option to return to the prior page and make any adjustments needed in order to fine-tune things. You can also always reach out to our team at fundraisers@chipotle.com at any point if you have questions. Do note that our options may be limited for check-writing based on how your organization is set up, but we’ll get more into that in a moment.

Tax information in this post is subject to change and is provided for general purposes only.  For tax advice specific to your situation, contact your attorney or accountant.

Tax Information

Your first question might be, “what is tax information?”. Indeed, this is a vague term that covers a ton of different possible answers. However, the tax information we’re looking for when setting up a fundraiser is your organization’s tax information, specifically the federal tax ID number, sometimes referred to as a “Tax ID Number” (TIN) or “Employer Identification Number”. This is a nine-digit number provided to your organization by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes. It’s important to note that this number will always be nine digits and will never include letters or other special characters. It will often be formatted with a dash after the second number, however, like so: 12-3456789. For your Chipotle fundraiser, we’re only interested in the federal tax information — state or local tax numbers will not satisfy our requirements. It’s also important to note that the federal tax ID number is separate from a tax-exempt status. Businesses and charities alike have federal tax ID numbers. If an organization is interested in becoming a non-profit (think 501c3) or tax exempt, those are separate statuses that must be filed for with the IRS.

How to Find Your Organization’s Federal Tax ID Number

You may think, “my organization doesn’t have one of these,” but you might be surprised. If your organization has a budget or deals with money in any way (as most organizations with a mission do), your organization more than likely already has a federal tax ID number. To be certain, check with your organization’s accountant or treasurer. If they don’t have the number or aren’t certain, you can always ask the IRS to search for your EIN by calling the Business & Specialty Tax Line at 1-800-829-4933. The hours of operation are 7:00am – 7:00pm local time, Monday through Friday. An assistor will ask you for identifying information and provide the number to you over the telephone, as long as you are a person who is authorized to receive it (examples of an authorized person include, but are not limited to, a sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, a corporate officer, a trustee of a trust, or an executor of an estate).

Search for Your Organization’s Federal Tax ID Number on GuideStar

Another option to research your EIN is to look it up on GuideStar. There, you can search by organization name or even city and state. You’ll want to confirm the number belongs to your organization as this is who the check will be written to and using the incorrect number will likely result in long delays in getting your money.

How to Apply for an EIN

If you discover that your organization truly does not have an EIN, you can apply on the IRS website using their free service and receive your EIN after completing a brief 15 minute application. You’ll want to grab a screenshot of your EIN on the confirmation screen and email it to fundraisers@chipotle.com as it sometimes takes a few days for their system to update. If you have additional questions about the application or creating an EIN, please reach out to a certified accountant or tax professional for your organization. 

Why We Need Your Organization’s Federal Tax ID Number

Now that we’ve covered what a federal tax ID number is and what it looks like, we’ll talk about why we need the information and how it is submitted. In short, we use the federal tax ID number to verify your organization’s status and make sure we can write a check to your group. To submit the tax information, you’ll first need to apply for a fundraiser at community.chipotle.com and receive initial approval from our Community Roots team. Once approved, you’ll receive an email requesting your tax information. Follow the link there to our website, where you’ll answer a few simple questions about your organization and plug in your federal tax ID number, if necessary. If you’re part of a public school or public college, you may not need the federal tax ID number at all. Prompts on our website will help you determine if this situation applies to you.

Receiving Your Fundraiser Check

Now for the fun part — receiving the fundraiser check. Because we’ve already collected and verified the tax information on the front end, all you need to do after your fundraiser is sign a final letter verifying the fundraiser amount and authorize a check being sent to your organization. You’ll be able to verify the name on the check as well as the mailing address for the check, which is USPS-verified to ensure speed and accuracy. After that, our Accounting team begins working on your check! Due to automation in this process, we typically see checks mailed within a business week of that final letter being submitted, meaning your organization should receive the check in less than two weeks. During our peak fundraiser season in the spring and fall of the year, this time can sometimes be delayed, but our Accounting team works hard to keep wait times as low as possible.

Hopefully this information was helpful in understanding how tax information works, what we’re looking for, and how we use it. Tax information may not be the most exciting subject, so we’ve aimed to make this process as straight-forward as possible! We’re excited to host your organization’s next fundraiser — to learn more and apply, visit our site HERE.


getting a tax id for a non-profit organization