Changing a Business Name
by CharlotteW, Former Moderator
- Created: April 22, 2009, 10:48 am
Changing a Business Name
Experts often say that naming your business is like naming your child. The name you choose will stick as long as you are in business. However, sometimes we end up calling our children by a nickname rather than their birth name. After you are in business for while, you may think about re-naming your business to something that more accurately reflects your mission, product or that appeals to your target audience.
Whatever your reasons, changing a business name can be costly, especially if you have been in business for while. Advertisements, logos, business cards, stationery, sales collateral, etc. will need to be re-produced, and you’ll likely need to launch a marketing campaign to let your customers know about your new business name.
In addition, you will need file paperwork and pay fees to government agencies in order to operate legally under a new name. While these fees pale in comparison to marketing costs, not complying with legal requirements can result in additional fees and legal action against your business down the road.
All businesses follow the same steps when changing a business name. However, each type of business legal entity has unique requirements. So, LLC’s have some requirements that are different than sole proprietorships, for example.
So, before creating a new logo or ordering new business cards, determine all your legal requirements, and then file necessary paperwork.
- If you made a DBA (Fictitious Name) filing with your state or county government, you will be required to file a new registration under your new name.
- Notify the IRS as well as state and local revenue agencies. Depending on your state and local requirements you may need to obtain new tax registration certificates, such as an Employer Identification Number, seller’s permits, vendor license, etc.
- Corporations, LLCs, LLPs, and other incorporated entities should file an amendment to their Articles of Incorporation with their state’s corporation agency (e.g. Secretary of State).
- Obtain new licenses and permit certificates with your new business name. Contact the issuing agencies for requirements and costs associated with getting a new license.
- Update all account information with lenders and financial institutions to include the new business name.
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