When it is time to set up a bank account, the bank will require a bunch of documents out of your minute book. Make copies of the following documents, put them in a file folder and take them with you to the bank:

1.  Articles

You need to prove to the bank that you are a real entity. So, if you set up your account as a corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership, you need to produce the proof of the filing. For a corporation, you need your Articles of Incorporation, stamped by the state where you filed. For an LLC, you need an Articles of Organization, stamped by the state where you filed. For a limited partnership, you need a Certificate of Limited Partnership, stamped by the state where you filed. For a partnership, you don’t need anything, because you didn’t have to file.

2.  Bylaws

Banks usually require some proof that you have done your homework in organizing a bona fide company. Banks often take that proof from the existence of rules that you have adopted internally. For corporations, you need “Bylaws” and perhaps a shareholders’ agreement, but only if you have one. For an LLC, you need an Operating Agreement or an LLC Agreement. For a partnership, you need a Partnership Agreement.

3.  Organizing Resolutions

Your entity is like a computer – it only does something when a human tells it to. Your entity can do nothing until a human gives it directions. When you set up your entity, you have to tell it which people have power to act for the entity and what powers they have. These are usually in the form of resolutions. Resolutions are adopted at a meeting or by written consent. You will need these to prove (a) who your officers are; and (b) who has authority to sign bank records for the entity.

4.  Tax Stuff

Finally, your bank will usually require you to give them your Federal Employer Identification Number (“FEIN”) and any other tax documents. An FEIN is like your company’s social security number – it identifies your entity to the tax collectors. Also, if you have a tax election, like an S-election on Form 2553, bring that also.

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