A band that earns money for performances and appearances is a financial entity and entitled to a checking account. This account can be used to divide pay between the band members, to pay for transportation and other costs, or to save for new equipment or recording time. There are several steps to follow to open a bank account under a band's name, but they are relatively simple if taken one at a time.
Decide how the band is structured for business and account purposes. If the account is a simple garage band that only makes a limited amount of money, the band members may agree to simply use one of the member's Social Security numbers to open the account. In this case, skip to Step 4. If not, continue to Step 2.
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For larger bands, visit an attorney to have partnership papers drawn up. Though there is a cost involved with hiring an attorney, it can prevent future disagreements and protect the band from breaking up over financial skirmishes.
Once the partnership papers are drawn up, register for an EIN online. The EIN, or Federal Tax ID Number, will act like a Social Security number for the band's partnership.
Telephone local banks or visit their websites and gather information about their accounts. Ask or research how many free transactions are allowed on a business checking each month, what the minimum balance requirements are, what the monthly maintenance fees involved are, if debit cards are available on the account and for what price, what cost is associated with ATMs, how much the fees for overdrafts and NSF's will be, and how much an order of checks costs.
Take the gathered data and compare the accounts. Look for the business checking account that offers the largest amount of free transactions and has the least amount of associated fees.
Decide amongst the band members who will be signers on the account. In the case of a partnership, the best decision may be for all members to sign, but a band with no official structure can pick and choose its signers.
Gather the necessary documentation to open the account. For bands with no corporate structure, this will include driver's licenses, a business address for the band, the Social Security number that will be used for the account, and any proof that can be provided of the band's existence, such as a contract or other identifying item. For partnership bands, this will include the EIN, the business address and the partnership agreement. Each partner or member of the band will also need his Social Security number, address, date of birth, and government-issued photo identification.
Gather the funds required for the initial deposit.
Visit the bank and open the account. Sign the signature cards and make the first deposit.
It is always wise to call the bank and inquire about any additional identifying documents that may be needed. This article reports the minimum requirements for bank identification required by the Patriot Act, but individual bank policies may require additional documents.