Updated November 18, 2020:

You cannot open an anonymous LLC bank account. While you could protect your identity through an anonymous LLC, banks generally require personal information.

Reasons You Might Create an Anonymous LLC

If you want to maintain your privacy while running an LLC, this is how an anonymous LLC might help you:

  1. An Anonymous LLC shields you from being negatively associated with your business.
  2. It prevents people from finding out who the company's owners are through a simple internet search.
  3. If you have enough layers between you and your company, you can prevent people who would want to harm you or your loved ones (like stalkers and criminals) from easily finding you.
  4. You can protect your property and the property of the company's other owners from frivolous lawsuits.

Ultimately, it depends on where you locate your business because only certain states will shield your identity from the public. In those states, you can maintain a measure of privacy based on your initial corporate filings and annual reporting requirements.

In most states, stockholders and members of an LLC can withhold their names from public corporate records. Only the directors, officers, or managers of the LLC need to publicly disclose their names. States like Wyoming allow stockholders and business owners to nominate officers and managers of the LLCs. Some states, including Nevada, don't disclose certain business data with the Internal Revenue Service. Only 33 states have an information-sharing agreement with the IRS. However, this is the extent to which business owners can keep their anonymity in business “privacy havens.”

How You Could Lose Your Anonymity

Even though anonymous LLCs could help you maintain a level of privacy, there are a few things they won't shield you from. Business owners can lose their anonymity if:

  • They register their businesses in their home states.
  • They issue stock.
  • They operate businesses that require licenses.
  • They work in the business or serve as an independent contractor.
  • They enter into other contracts or agreements, like loans. In those instances, business owners will have to provide their signatures.
  • They commit a crime.
  • They or their associates are sued, subpoenaed, or unveiled in court.
  • They open a bank account.

How to Open a Bank Account for You LLC

As mentioned above, you generally cannot open an anonymous bank account for your LLC. That's because you will have to provide personal information and information about your company.

Before opening a bank account, you have to create your company and obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. To do that, you will need to provide personal information, such as your Social Security number, to the IRS.

Once you have your EIN, make sure you're aware of the rules of the bank you visit and the banking laws in the state where the bank is located. For example, this is what you are required to provide if you choose to open a business bank account in Delaware:

  • Articles of incorporation or articles of formation
  • A passport of the person opening the account
  • An Employer Identification Number
  • A banking resolution (or certificate of incumbency)
  • Proof of a U.S. address for your company
  • An in-person visit to the bank you will be using

The rules may be different from state to state. That's why you should contact the bank you plan to use ahead of time.

Advice for Opening a Bank Account for an LLC

  1. A basic rule of thumb is to avoid organizing your business in a state where you conduct no business or hold no assets. From this point of view, it's unnecessary for an internet business to organize in Nevada and Wyoming for privacy purposes. Also, think about the financial costs of operating a business outside your home state.
  2. There are already universal protections for certain businesses across the United States. Although you may hear that Nevada and Wyoming offer the best privacy protections for business owners, you can get around certain statues no matter the state you're in. You just have to produce a solid operating agreement for your LLC and be aware of corporate bylaws.
  3. Do not use services that offer bearer shares, because bearer shares are illegal no matter what state you're in.

If you need help setting up a bank account for your LLC, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.