How can I just get a tax id?
May 25, 2010 5:10 PM   Subscribe

I need a tax id so I can open a bank account for my band in Michigan.

All I need is a checking account so some of the larger festivals can make the checks out to "[BAND NAME]".

I was told by the bank to go to the county clerks office. I went there and they told me that it's all done over the web at I went there and rapidly became lost in an online maze of small-business start-up stuff. I don't want to start a small business. I just want to open a checking account under my band's name. I just want a frakking tax-id number so we can cash checks and pay our taxes at the end of the year. Any help would be super appreciated and I'll send you .mp3s of our first two albums for free.
posted by Baby_Balrog to Law & Government (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer:

posted by boots at 5:14 PM on May 25, 2010

Best answer: You still are a business, albeit not in the traditional sense of brick and mortar. You need a federal tax ID, I believe. Try calling the IRS. More info here.
posted by jerseygirl at 5:14 PM on May 25, 2010

Response by poster: Is an EIN the same thing as a tax id?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:16 PM on May 25, 2010

Best answer: An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN.

posted by jerseygirl at 5:18 PM on May 25, 2010

Best answer: You probably do not need a federal business tax id, unless you are paying wages. Since no musician working in clubs gets a paycheck (heh) that's probably a moot point.

What you need to open a bank account is a sales tax id...which gives you the right to collect sales tax...for things like selling cds and tshirts. Then you take the sales tax id number with your DBA (doing business as) form to your local credit union, and open an account where you can get paid, and subsequently where you can pay your state taxes. You can operate the business as a sole proprietor or as an S-corp, neither of which require an IRS federal tax id. See an accountant if you are making enough money from the band that it needs to incorporate.

How do I obtain a sales tax license?

You may obtain a Michigan sales tax license by completing Form 518, Registration for Michigan Taxes. Additional registration information for the application process can be found by visiting the Michigan Registration Web page.
See Also: Do I need a sales tax license if I only plan to make retail sales at a couple of events per year?

If you make retail sales at only one or two events in Michigan per year you may complete the Form 2271, Concessionaire's Sales Tax Return and Payment. If you prefer to obtain a sales tax license you may complete Form 518, Registration for Michigan Taxes.
posted by dejah420 at 5:29 PM on May 25, 2010

Best answer: For an individual, the tax id is usually the same as the social security number. If a person owns and operates the band as a sole proprietor, then that person would normally use their own tax id, in other words, social security number, to get a bank account for their band. If the band is a separate legal entity such as a partnership or corporation, then it gets its own separate tax id, usually at the same time that the paperwork is pushed to create that separate legal entity. Whether or not you should create a separate legal entity for your band is a deep topic outside the scope of this post. Assuming you decide not to create a separate legal entity for your band, here is some general info that may help you. If the bank is asking you for a tax id and no one at the bank explained that you could use your own social security number, then what they may possibly be saying is that the bank requires you to have a business license for the band in order to open up an account in the band's name. Usually when you get a local business license, you get paperwork that shows a connection between your name and the band name. Then your social security card shows a connection between your tax id and your name. So what the bank may be saying is they need to verify a connection between the band name and your social security number in order to verify that you have a right to cash checks to the band. Hopefully this info helps; please keep in mind it's not formal legal advice, just general information that you can use as a direction for further research. Good luck !
posted by adrianc at 5:34 PM on May 25, 2010

Response by poster: Wow - thanks for all the helpful info everyone. I'll work on this today and let you know what I did.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:30 AM on May 26, 2010

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