The name you give your business is important; it becomes the company’s identity. But what happens if the original name of your business no longer conveys your current brand identity? Is it too difficult to change your business’s name without starting your brand from scratch?
Changing the name of your business involves more than simply making an announcement to your customers and slapping a new logo on your website. Luckily, renaming your business isn’t impossible. The required steps depend on what kind of business you’re operating.
For businesses incorporated as an LLC/corporation, there are two ways you can change the name. Part one of this series discusses one of these options: operating under an entirely new name.
Operate Under a New Name
If you want to abandon your old business name entirely, your most direct route involves filing Articles of Amendment. This must happen within the state where you originally filed for business incorporation. After filling out the Articles of Amendment document, you must send it to the appropriate secretary of state.
Businesses registered in multiple states will require Articles of Amendment in each state. Additionally, a Certificate of Good Standing may also be required before an Amendment can be filed in another state.
After your business’s name is officially changed (upon the filing of your Articles of Amendment), you must follow these steps as well:
- Determine if you’re required to obtain a new EIN. This isn’t usually required if only the business’s name has changed.
- Inquire about whether your business licenses/permits need to be updated or new ones obtained according to the county, city or local office in which the business is located.
- Ask your bank whether your existing account will continue working for your newly named business or if you’ll need to open a new account.
- Send the IRS your business’s new name. LLC owners only need to send a letter to the IRS (at the same address where your tax return is sent) that provides the new name. Corporations, by comparison, can change their name on their Form 1120 corporate tax return OR send a letter to the IRS.
Your name is your brand; therefore, it’s important to make sure your business’s name puts forth your best image. In order to decide on a name that works best for your business, consult our related blog: 4 Tips on Naming a Business.
Also, stay tuned for Part 2 to learn about the second option for changing the name of an LLC/corporation.