Documents Needed to Open a Business Bank Account

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Banks require detailed information from businesses to open accounts.
Banks require detailed information from businesses to open accounts. (Image: bank image by Pefkos from Fotolia.com)

Business bank accounts aren’t opened in the same way as a personal bank account. Banks need to prove that a business is legitimate and that the directors of the business are aware of a bank account being opened in their names. Guidelines for opening accounts clarify which officers will be allowed to represent the business in banking transactions.

Tax Identification Number

A Tax Identification Number, also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN), is needed for all types of business accounts opened to properly document account ownership with the federal government. You may apply for and EIN on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website (see the Resources section).

Tax Identification Numbers identify a business to the IRS.
Tax Identification Numbers identify a business to the IRS. (Image: tax forms image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com)

Articles or Certificate of Incorporation

Corporations must provide either Articles of Incorporation or a Certificate of Incorporation, according to the Bank of America website.

Corporations must provide Articles of Incorporation.
Corporations must provide Articles of Incorporation. (Image: billion dollar corporation image by Augustus Saxton from Fotolia.com)

Articles of Organization

Articles of Organization are needed for companies organized as a Limited Liability Company.

Partnership Agreement

Limited and General Partnerships must provide a partnership agreement showing the names of all partners and the business name. General Partnerships may use the state filing document showing the business name and names of partners, instead. In some states this is called a Fictitious Name Certificate or a Certificate of Trade Name. However, Limited Liability Partnerships instead may use the business organizing document filed by the state and certified.

Partnerships must show the agreement listing all partners.
Partnerships must show the agreement listing all partners. (Image: two businessmen shaking hands image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com)

501(c) Letter

Nonprofit organizations must show an IRS ruling letter which identifies them as tax exempt under IRC 501(c). Some banks will accept a notarized statement of tax exemption on company letterhead if an IRS ruling isn’t available when opening the account.

Most churches operate as a 501C.
Most churches operate as a 501C. (Image: church. Entrance of a church image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

Letter of Resolution

Corporations and Limited Liability Companies must provide the bank with a corporate resolution signed by the officers that identifies all authorized signers, if they are not listed on the business documents.

Business License

If you are a sole proprietorship, you need to show a business license that displays both the name of the company and the name of the owner. Also, you may use a Social Security number instead of an EIN.

Sole proprietors must show a business license.
Sole proprietors must show a business license. (Image: business man image by S from Fotolia.com)

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