(The following article assumes that your business entity is an LLC. The same general approach applies for corporations.)
It is a good idea to open a separate bank account in the name of your new business, rather than simply using your personal checking account. One of the most important reasons for this is that keeping personal and business finances separate is a key formality that helps preserve the limited liability protections of the LLC.
Banks have different policies as to exactly what they require for you to open a checking account in the LLC’s name. Check with your chosen bank for the specifics, but in general they want:
1 – A resolution from the LLC authorizing a particular individual to conduct banking activity. This resolution should be written broadly, to grant authority for all or nearly all banking services. Examples of important powers to grant include:
- Open accounts (checking, savings, or simply "any")
- Close accounts
- Make deposits
- Make withdrawals
- Borrow money
- Lend money
2 – A Washington State business license. New businesses in Washington need to complete a Master Business Application. This application can be filled out online here. The cost for most businesses is $15. It takes about two weeks to get your license back in the mail. If you will be operating in the City of Walla Walla, you will need to register your business.
3 – A copy of the LLC Operating Agreement. Some banks do not require this. For others, an official resolution (see #1) is sufficient. Some operating agreements designate specific people as authorized to conduct financial affairs of the LLC, so make sure that your resolution follows the applicable provisions.
Note that for most businesses it makes sense to get an EIN from the IRS, to avoid having to use your Social Security Number to open a bank account.
Contact Burkhart and Burkhart today for assistance with forming a Washington LLC or other business entity.