Documents Needed to Open a DBA Checking Account

By Brette Sember, J.D.

Documents Needed to Open a DBA Checking Account

By Brette Sember, J.D.

A DBA is a business that is "doing business as" a name other than its legal name. An individual, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation can all use a DBA, if they wish. When you're working under a DBA, you will likely want a bank account so you can conduct business.

Person looking at computer that says "open a bank account"

How to Obtain a DBA

Anytime an individual or a business does business under a name other than its own legal name, the DBA name will most likely need to be registered with your state or county, depending on local laws, so that creditors and customers can determine who is running the business. For example, if an individual named Marta Rodriguez runs a sole proprietorship called Marta's Hair Ribbons, a DBA is probably required. If a corporation called OneZone opens a side business called 1Z Café, it needs to file a DBA. Once you register the DBA, you receive a certificate authorizing you to use the name.

Sole Proprietors and Partnerships

There are a few steps to follow before you can open a DBA bank account as a sole proprietor or partnership. First, get your DBA certificate. If you are a partnership, you also need to obtain an EIN (employer identification number) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It can also be a good idea to obtain this if you are a sole proprietor, although you can do business using only your Social Security number. An EIN is similar to a Social Security number but allows a business to file taxes and collect payroll taxes. Your state may also require you to obtain a business license.

To open the bank account, bring the following documents to the bank:

  • DBA certificate
  • Social Security number or EIN
  • Business license
  • General partnership agreement, if applicable

LLCs

An LLC that is doing business under another name needs to obtain a DBA for that new name. LLCs can file their taxes through the individual members' personal returns or they can elect to file a corporate tax return, which requires an EIN. An EIN can also be a good idea even if you're filing only personal taxes. Make sure you file all the LLC paperwork required by your state, including articles of organization or a certificate of formation, and obtain any necessary business licenses. You also need a certificate of good standing from your state, which indicates the business has authorization to do business in that state.

To open your DBA bank account, take the following documents to the bank:

  • DBA certificate
  • Social Security number or EIN
  • Business license
  • Articles of organization or certificate of formation
  • Certificate of good standing

Corporations

If your business is a corporation, it is a legal entity of its own. A corporation needs a DBA only if it is conducting business under a name other than its legal corporate name. Before you apply for a bank account, be sure that your corporation has been legally formed with articles of incorporation and any required business licenses.

To open your DBA bank account, bring the following to the bank:

  • DBA certificate
  • EIN
  • Business license
  • Articles of incorporation or certificate of incorporation
  • Document identifying the officers (if it is not included in the articles of incorporation)

Nonprofits

A nonprofit also must file a DBA certificate if it is doing business under a fictitious name. To do so, you must properly form your nonprofit corporation with articles of incorporation, file for nonprofit tax status, and obtain any necessary business licenses. If your registered nonprofit organization wants to open a bank account, the bank may waive annual fees or offer free or low-cost transactions.

Bring the following documents to the bank to open your DBA account:

  • DBA certificate
  • EIN
  • Business license
  • Articles of incorporation or certificate of incorporation
  • Certificate of nonprofit status
  • Document listing the officers and representatives
  • Identification and Social Security numbers for anyone authorized to write checks on the account

Creating a DBA for yourself, your partnership, LLC, or corporation is something you can get started with today. Filing allows you to do business under the name you choose, while opening a bank account in the DBA name gives you the freedom to conduct business as you need to.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.