We are cleaning up our vendor file and we are thinking about using TINs as our vendor IDs. Do you know of any problems (privacy issues, etc.) that we might run into by doing this?

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We are not aware of privacy issues related to using Employer Identification Number (EIN) TINs for identification purposes as a vendor ID. Some banks use it as the identification number a customer uses to sign on for Internet banking; some companies put their tax ID on their invoices so that the customer will have a record of their taxpayer ID as it relates to 1099 reporting. However, sensitivity to privacy might be an issue with some vendors. (If the TIN is the contractor's social security number rather than an EIN, you risk liability for misappropriation of the number for identity fraud. We do not recommend using social security numbers as vendor IDs.)

As an alternate approach, you might use the last 7 digits in the taxpayer's ID, along with either alpha or numeric characters at the beginning of the vendor ID. Depending on how your associates access a vendor ID, you might want to plan your naming convention to give you the quickest lookup capability in your system.

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