Bank account for a group project?
April 5, 2014 2:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm collecting donations for a group project, but don't want to deposit the funds in my personal bank account. Is there another type of account I can use instead?

I'm playing the role of treasurer for my Burning Man group this year. We're going to be asking for donations via paypal from our members to help fund the stuff we're going to build, transportation, etc. I'd prefer not to use my personal bank account for this, but I'd also prefer not to create a legal entity such as an incorporated business or non-profit organization. I just want a place to keep the group funds separate from my own personal funds. Is there a type of bank account that's used for this sort of thing? If so, what is called or what should I ask for? Are some banks better than others in this regard? In case it's relevant, I'm in California. Thanks!
posted by treepour to Work & Money (4 answers total)
Basically no, there is no way to create a bank account that is separate from you personally and your SSN -- except by forming a business or organization with its own EIN or TIN, which are tax ID numbers. This is because taxes and also money laundering.

The money doesn't necessarily count as taxable income to you personally, however, if you all agree to consider the money as gifts for you (and it's under the federal gifting limit, which is quite high.) So you could just set up a separate savings account under your name.

But really to do it right, you should create a simple business entity to hold the money and open a business account.
posted by Andrhia at 3:15 PM on April 5, 2014

well, you're going to need someone to be responsible for it if it goes to the bank, so that means a personal account or a business account. Alternately you could try and find someone to be a fiscal agent for you.
posted by edgeways at 3:19 PM on April 5, 2014

while Paypal is an unsecured pre-depression-era bank in all but name, for something like this, why not leave the money in Paypal?

If that doesn't appeal, you don't have to use your bank for the account. There are on-line banks, credit unions, and soul-sucking giant parasitic traditional banks on every street corner...
posted by Mad_Carew at 3:23 PM on April 5, 2014

for this i might set up an ing (sorry, capital one 360) account and have everyone link their accounts to it as well. then they can just transfer money in as needed. but maybe you have too many people in your group for that to work well. or just create your own ing account, call it "burning man" and don't put any money in it that isn't specifically from your group for that purpose. you'll earn like 3c in interest and big deal.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 4:27 PM on April 5, 2014

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