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Opening a business account? Here are five documents you need for FICA compliance

by , 15 July 2013
SARS won't let you register for any kind of tax without details of your company's bank. Unfortunately, opening a bank account is far more complicated than it used to be, thanks to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA). This Act requires banks to obtain certain information concerning their clients. Luckily there's a way to make this a smooth process. Here are five documents you must submit to your bank when opening an account for your business.

There's a lot of paperwork involved in setting up and running a business in South Africa, and if you leave something out there're severe penalties, says the Practical Tax Loose Leaf Service.

Have these five documents handy when opening a business account

#1: A copy of the founding documentation of any legal entity that the business is trading under. This would include:

  • The Memorandum of Incorporation in the case of a company;
  • The CK1 and the latest CK2 (if applicable) in the case of a CC; or
  • The trust deed in the case of a trust.

#2: A copy of the minutes (or a certified extract thereof) of the meeting at which the resolution was passed to open a bank account.

This resolution should ideally specify the bank and branch at which the account is to be opened, the type of account to be opened (current, savings,) and the names of the people who will act as signatories on the account.

#3: A certified copy of the identity documents of each of the directors, members or trustees

#4: An original or certified copy of an external document that verifies the physical address or stand number of the business' registered office or principal trading premises.

This may be in the form of assessment rates or a utility account, lease agreement (in the case of leased premises), or a telephone account.

Just bear in mind that a telephone account isn't always acceptable to some banks. If this is what you intend to present to the bank, save yourself time and trouble by checking with the bank first to make sure they'll accept it.

#5: A similar document verifying the physical address or stand number of each signatory on the account.

In addition, the bank normally needs the company to complete numerous forms. These typically include:

  • An application form to open the account;
  • A mandate form outlining the signing arrangements, like who the signatories are and how many people are required to sign each document (normally two);
  • Signature cards of those people who will be signing cheques or approving payments and changes.
  • Acceptance of terms and conditions (if this doesn't form part of the application form); and
  • Documentation relating to any electronic banking facilities that may be applied for.

Well there you have it. Make sure FICA and your bank don't stop you from getting started with your business by having these documents on hand when opening an account.

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