Short Answer: Whether or not you can easily cash a check written to a closed business will depend on whether you’ve already closed the business bank account. If the account is closed, you may have trouble cashing the check, depending on the policy at your bank. However, if you have not yet closed the bank account, you can usually cash or deposit the check as you normally would. For tips on how to cash a check made out to a business that is closed, see below.
How to Cash a Check Made Out to a Closed Business
There is no single answer when it comes to cashing a check made out to a business that is closed. Upon closing a business, you, as the business owner, should keep associated business bank accounts open until all remaining transactions that you are aware of are settled — including checks coming in and debts being paid. The amount of time the account needs to remain open will vary on an individual basis based on the circumstances of your business.
State laws and IRS regulations apply to the process of closing a business, so when you’re attempting to cash a check that is made out to your closed business, make sure you adhere to the appropriate requirements for tax and income reporting purposes.
For example, sole proprietors and unincorporated small businesses that don’t have multiple business partners may have less difficulty cashing a check made out to a closed business, as numerous check endorsement signatures will not be necessary.
We contacted representatives from Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Check Into Cash, and the IRS, as well as several Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), to compile the list of things you can do if you receive a check for your closed business. Keep in mind, however, that each situation is different, and not all of these options are guaranteed to work.
Visit Your Bank
Take the check to the bank that housed your business account and ask for assistance. Banks have full discretion over whether to cash checks for closed businesses; depending on your relationship with the bank and the individual branch’s policies, the teller may or may not be able to help you.
Personal Bank Accounts
Note that checks payable to the business are considered a business asset and must be applied appropriately; personal and business finances should be kept separate. Unless the check is made out to the name of the business owner (rather than the business itself), you usually can’t cash or deposit it using your personal bank account.
However, you may be able to endorse the check to yourself to cash or deposit it. This creates a third-party check, and you (as the business owner) designate yourself as the third-party payee. In the endorsement section on the back of the check, write “Pay to the Order of [Your Name].” Sign the check “[Company Name], by [Your Name], President [Your Professional Title].”
Acceptance will vary depending on each bank’s individual policies and the business check cashing laws in your state. Be sure your bank accepts third-party checks before endorsing the check; you may also want to seek advice from your bank or a financial professional before endorsing the check.
Visit the Bank That Issued the Check
The bank that issued the check may or may not be willing to cash it for you. If the bank is willing to help you, you’ll usually need to provide documentation showing proof of business ownership and/or your tax ID number, as well as your current photo ID.
Visit Check Into Cash or Money Services
Check cashing stores (rather than banks) may be able to help you cash your check. Again, there are no guarantees, but this option is worth considering if you don’t have success at your bank.
Our previous research has the details on cashing a business check at Check Into Cash. You’ll need to provide your current photo ID, and the store will electronically verify your check before cashing it.
Operating in Kroger, Fred Meyer, and other stores, Money Services will also cash printed business checks made out to your business. You will need to provide a current photo ID (such as a driver’s license) and your Social Security number.
Options If You Can’t Cash or Deposit the Check
If you’re unable to cash or deposit the check into a bank account, at the issuing bank, or a check cashing store, a quick call to your CPA or business attorney may render a solution. Since they are familiar with your business and local laws, they can advise you of the best way to get your funds and provide any additional information you’ll need about the check (such as how to report it at tax time).
You can also try reaching out to the person or company that sent the check and ask if they can reissue a check to the appropriate individual rather than the business.
- Chase customer service (800) 935-9935
- Wells Fargo customer service (800) 869-3557
- U.S. Bank customer service (800) 872-2657
- IRS Business telephone assistance (800) 829-4933
- Check Into Cash customer service (877) 262-2274
- Kroger customer service (800) 576-4377