After being in business for some time, it may make sense to change the name of your LLC. This is a relatively straightforward process with a few steps for the change to be effective.
In this article, I'll guide you through changing an LLC name and help you avoid the common mistakes business owners make.
Can You Change The Name Of Your LLC?
Yes, by following the right process, business owners can change the name of their LLC.
How To Change An LLC Name
Here are the steps for transforming an LLC's name.
Check The Laws In Your State Governing LLC Name Changes To Ensure You Comply
First, you must check your state's rules and regulations regarding name changes. For example, some states may require that you register the new LLC name with the Secretary of State first or publish a notice in a local newspaper. You should also ensure that the new name does not violate trademarks or copyrights.
Contact The Appropriate Government Agency To File For A Name Change And Pay Any Applicable Fees
Once you have confirmed that you comply with all relevant laws, it is time to contact the appropriate government agency and begin the paperwork process. Depending on your state's requirements, this could involve filing Articles of Amendment and paying any applicable fees.
As Some States Require, Publish Notice Of The LLC’s Intent To Change Its Name In A Local Newspaper
In certain situations, filing an LLC name change requires posting notice of the intention in a local newspaper. This is usually done to allow potential stakeholders to object to the purpose and will typically involve paying for the publication fee.
File Articles Of Amendment With The Government Agency To Officially Change The Name Of The LLC
Once you've completed all other necessary steps, it is time to file for your LLC's name change formally. This generally involves submitting Articles of Amendment with your state government that include information about your new business name, ensuring you pay any applicable fees, and getting signatures from all current members or people authorized to make changes.
Notify All Relevant Parties Of The New Name
Once your LLC's name change is official, you must notify all relevant parties of the new name, such as financial institutions, creditors, and contractors. You should also notify banks, creditors, and other stakeholders about the name change and update business records accordingly. Finally, edit legal documents that list your company's name to maintain a consistent identity across all platforms.Paying yourself from an LLC will require setting up the appropriate payroll process and taxes. Following the necessary steps to update your LLC's name will ensure that all documents are up to date and accurately reflect your business's current operations.
Why Might You Want To Change An LLC Name?
Here are the most common reasons an LLC might want to change its name.
Your Current Name Is Too Similar To Another Existing Business
When you register an LLC in your state, you must provide a unique name. If the name is too similar to another business operating in the same condition (and you realize this after you've been registered), you may need to change it.
You Want A More Memorable Or Recognizable Name
Your LLC's name should be memorable and unique. If you've chosen a name that is confusing or hard to remember, it may be time for an upgrade.
You've Changed The Focus Of Your Business
If your LLC has shifted its operations significantly, a new name can help reflect this change and make it easier for potential customers to find you.
You Want To Rebrand And Modernize Your LLC Image
If you feel like your current name isn't capturing the personality of your business or resonating with potential customers, then switching up the branding could do wonders for visibility.
Your Business Has Recently Merged With Another, And You Want A New Combined Name
If your LLC has completed a merger or acquisition, then it's likely that the two businesses will be combining their names to form a new entity. This is an ideal time to reassess your name and ensure it's as effective as possible.
One Of The Partners Has Left The Business
If one of your original LLC members leaves, you may decide to remove their name from yours and come up with something else entirely. This will help ensure that customers know who is actively involved in the company.
The Current Name Is No Longer Relevant To Your LLC Industry Or Services
As times change, so do industries and customer interests. If your services no longer align with the name of your LLC, it may be time for an update.
You Don't Like The Name Anymore
Personal preferences change, and if you no longer feel like your LLC's current name is a good fit, it may be time to explore other options.
Can I Change The Name Of My LLC Myself?
Yes, filing the Articles of Amendment with the state government is the only way to change the name of your LLC officially. You can do it yourself, or if you prefer, you can hire an attorney or other professional to help with the legal paperwork.
How Much Does It Cost To Change An LLC’s Name?
Your operating state lets you change your LLC's name.
Filing an amendment is how this process typically starts.
By going to the state's Secretary of State website, one is able to find the right forms.
Filing fees generally cost less than a hundred dollars.
Using A DBA Instead Of Changing Your Business Name
Sometimes, a complete name change is unnecessary. If you still want the ability to use a different name while running your LLC, you can apply for a "Doing Business As" (DBA) with your local government office. This is typically much more affordable than changing your LLC's legal name, allowing you to keep the same business registration information as before.
A DBA allows your LLC to use a different name for certain services, such as taking customer orders or engaging in marketing activities. However, the official legal documents and records associated with your business will still list the original registered name of your LLC.
A DBA also allows you to establish a presence in multiple locations under different names while maintaining one underlying business entity. This is much simpler than creating separate LLCs for each site. You can also use a DBA if you want to expand into new markets but don't want to go through the process of changing your entire business name.
It's important to note that some states, such as California and New York, require LLCs to file a Certificate of Amendment before using DBAs. This process typically involves filing additional paperwork and paying a fee.It’s good to note that as a disregarded entity LLC, the name used does not affect the taxes you file. The Internal Revenue Service will still refer to your LLC by its legal representation for all federal tax purposes.
What Are The Consequences Of Changing An LLC’s Name?
There can be a few consequences of changing an LLC's name. Most notably, you'll need to update your company records with the new name, notify all relevant stakeholders, and pay any applicable fees.
While many don't realize it, it's also important to note that changing the name of your LLC can affect its brand image. Customers may become confused about who you are; even worse, competitors could take advantage of the change and capitalize on any confusion.
Carefully consider the implications of changing an LLC's name before initiating the process. It is often best to consult with a qualified business attorney or financial advisor who can provide helpful insight into the impact this decision could have on your company. This will help ensure that you make an informed decision and don't suffer any negative consequences.
Rebranding Your Business After A Name Change
If you've decided that it's time for a name change for your LLC, there are a few additional steps you'll need to take to complete the rebranding process.
Some critical aspects of a successful rebranding include the following:
By following these steps and considering the potential implications of changing an LLC's name, you can ensure a smooth and successful transition.
How To Change An LLC Name - FAQ
It's generally not hard to change an LLC's name, but it is a process that requires straightforward paperwork and fees.
The simplest task is filling out and filing a form; the challenging, most difficult part is changing the name on existing business accounts and contracts and ensuring your brand does not suffer much as a result.
Depending on the state, approval times can vary, but processing with the IRS usually takes around six weeks.
Keeping this timeframe in mind, you should allow yourself at least two months to complete the name-change process. This will give you plenty of time to notify stakeholders and update business records.
Closing an LLC typically involves filing a form with the state, known as the Articles of Dissolution. In addition to this form, you may need to notify the IRS, pay any outstanding debts and taxes, dispose of business assets and inform stakeholders that the company is closing.
Changing an LLC's name is often crucial to business growth and development. It can help refresh your brand, improve recognition in the marketplace, and make it easier for customers to find you online.
However, it's essential to weigh all the pros and cons before deciding, as many regulations can come into place with changing your name. Ultimately, the best way to ensure that you remain compliant is to consult a qualified attorney or tax professional before taking action.
They can help guide you through the process and answer any questions.