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Lots of people who start businesses opt to structure them as a limited liability company, or LLC. But if you want to change your business’s name, you might wonder about the exact process, which documents you need to fill out, and more. Today, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to change an LLC name.
Can you change the name of your LLC?
Yes, fortunately it is possible to change your LLC’s name. Here are a couple common reasons why you might want to consider changing the name of your LLC:
- Avoid brand confusion: Even if the business isn’t located in your area, there’s a strong possibility that someone else has a similar LLC name to yours. If you’re worried that your business may be getting confused with a competitor or even a company in another industry, you should consider changing your LLC’s name.
- Align with business growth: Business growth comes in many forms. In some cases, growing a business can mean expanding your service offerings into different areas. If your current LLC doesn’t reflect all of the new services you offer, changing the name of your LLC could be a good idea.
The Steps to Change the Name of Your LLC
If either of the above scenarios applies to you and you’d like to know how to change your LLC’s name, read on—once you’ve ensured your desired name is available to use, follow these steps to complete your LLC name change.
Get approval from other LLC members
Unless you’re the sole proprietor, the first step in changing your LLC’s name is getting written approval from all other LLC members. Even if your LLC doesn’t have internal laws regarding name changes, state or federal laws regarding consent may apply.
File articles of amendment
One of the many documents you need to file when you start an LLC is your articles of organization. If you’re changing the name of your LLC, you’ll need to amend those articles to complete the legal name change.
Each state has a different amendment form that you’ll need to file, and you can find all of the necessary information on your secretary of state’s website. Thankfully, you only need to provide some basic information about your company when filling out the articles of amendment.
Make changes to your LLC operating agreement
Filing articles of amendment changes how your business appears in the articles of organization and in the view of the law, but that doesn’t affect your internal documents, like your LLC operating agreement. Updating all of your internal documents with your new name allows you to enter contracts and make agreements using your new name.
Notify taxing agencies
Working with the IRS to change your LLC’s name is relatively straightfroward. Even better, the agency typically doesn’t even make you apply for a new Employer Identification Number (EIN). One important thing to note is that the process of notifying the IRS of your name change varies depending on how your business is structured and how you file taxes.
For example, if you’re the sole proprietor, you can simply write the IRS from the address where you file your tax returns informing them of the name change. But if your business is taxed as a corporation, you’ll need to mark the name change box in your Form 1120 to let the IRS know you’ve changed your LLC’s name.
Along with letting the IRS know about your name change, you’ll need to inform any state or local taxing authorities about your name change. Laws regarding this vary by state, but you’ll likely need to provide a copy of a certificate of amendment to prove that you changed your LLC’s name.
How to Change Your LLC’s name On Business Accounts
If you’re changing your LLC’s name, you’ll need to let your financial institution know. In addition to changing the name on your small business banking account, now is a good time to update your business credit card and checks.
You’ll also need to inform your insurance agency, landlord, suppliers, and any other vendors or companies you do business with that you’re changing your LLC’s name. Making sure they know about your name change ahead of time can go a long way in avoiding confusion down the road.
Say hello to your new business name!
Once you know how to change your LLC’s name and have completed the steps outlined above, it’s time to take advantage of all the benefits of doing so. Operating under a new name gives you an opportunity to switch up your branding, revamp your marketing efforts, and generally change the image of your business within your community. It’s a fresh start for your business, so do your best to make it count!