Can You Change Your LLC Name?
One of the first things many business owners do when starting their business is to register a business name.
But sometimes that choice isn’t as good as it sounded at first. Or perhaps the business has changed and the name doesn’t reflect what it does. Whatever the situation, you are wondering if you can change your LLC name.
The short answer is yes!
Steps to Change an LLC Name
Changing the name of a Limited Liability Company is generally a simple process, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Here we will break down the steps to changing to a new business name for your LLC.
Step 1: Run a name search to see if your new name is available
As you probably remember when you first registered your LLC’s name, you can’t just pick any old name for your business. Remember that the LLC name must be available from the state agency that registers LLCs (typically called the Secretary of State).
Generally, every state requires each LLC to have a unique name and/or not be too similar to other business names. To see if the name you want is available, do an LLC name availability search.
Step 2: Make sure the other LLC members are on board
If you are the only member of your LLC, then you don’t have to worry about this step! But if there are multiple members in your LLC, changing the name may require approval from all members.
With a multi-member LLC, you will likely need to vote on the name change, create a resolution, and have all members sign off on the decision.
Step 3: File the necessary paperwork with the state
This step will vary from state to state, but the good news is that each state allows for LLCs to change their names by filing a form.
You will need to file a name change form with your Secretary of State’s office (or whatever state agency is responsible for LLC registration). Common names for this form include Certificate of Amendment, Name Change Amendment, Amendment to the Articles of Organization, etc.
Visit your state office online and search for “LLC name change form” and the first result is likely the form you are looking for.
There will likely be a filing fee associated with the name change form.
Step 4: Update the LLC operating agreement
If your LLC has an operating agreement, then you will need to update it to reflect the new name. The good news is that LLC operating agreements typically allow for changes to be made without needing unanimous approval from all members.
Check your LLC’s operating agreement to see what is required for making a change and update it.
Step 5: Notify taxing agencies, banks, vendors, and other businesses of your LLC’s new name
Now that you have changed your LLC’s name, you will need to update your business registration with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and any state or local tax agencies.
To update the IRS, visit the IRS website and follow the instructions. You will notice that the only instructions are for a Sole Proprietorship, Corporation, and Partnership. You would select the one that relates to how the LLC is taxed.
By default, a single-member LLC is taxed as a sole proprietorship and a multi-member LLC is taxed as a partnership. Special paperwork is filed with the IRS to be taxed as a corporation.
Additionally, you will contact your state’s Department of Revenue (or similarly named taxation agency) to have the name of your LLC updated.
Last, you some things that may need to be updated:
– Marketing materials such as brochures, business cards, social media accounts, stationary, invoices, etc.
– Business bank accounts and business loans
– Credit card companies
– Business licenses and permits
– Vendors and suppliers
– Update signage
– And any other entities or customers that need to know about the name change.
Can I use a fictitious name instead of changing my LLC name?
Yes, you can use a fictitious name (also known as a “Doing Business As” or “DBA” name) without changing your LLC’s legal name. A DBA name is a trade name used when you want to operate under a name that is different than the legal name of your business.
For example, let’s say your LLC’s name is “John Doe, LLC” but you want to operate under the name “Best Bakery Ever”. In this case, you would file a DBA name with your state.
The process of obtaining a DBA is different by state, but is similar to the name change form as a form is filed with the Secretary of State’s office. This form may be called Adopting an Assumed LLC Name, Assumed Name Certificate, Fictitious Name Registration, etc.
The benefit of filing a DBA is that you can use it without notifying other business partners.
Do I need a new EIN if I change the name of my company?
Generally, if only the name of the LLC is being changed a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) is not necessary.
For more information, see IRS Publication 1635
How much does it cost to change the name of an LLC?
The cost of changing your LLC name will depend on the state in which the LLC is registered. Each state has a filing fee for the name change form, which can range from $20 to $250.