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


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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).

Articles or Certificate of Incorporation


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

Articles of Organization

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

Partnership Agreement


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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.

501(c) Letter


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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.

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


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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.