A name is a crucial aspect of a limited liability company as a business entity. In fact, you won’t be able even to file an LLC without giving it a lawful and permissible name. At a legal level, the name is a unique company identifier, and at a business level, it’s a valuable brand asset making your company distinguishable among the rivals and recognizable for customers and clients. Once you file your LLC formation documents and they are approved by the state, your business gets an established legal structure and your company gets a legal name reserved for it. From now on, a registered LLC name is the one to be used in legal documents of all types. Besides, you can use it for corporate style and creating your brand. And what if you decide to change an LLC name for some reason? In a word, the name change is possible. Yet, don’t expect that it will be as easy as one, two, three. Let’s take a closer look at the whole process and what option you have.
Things to Consider Before Changing an LLC Name
For the start, changing a legal company name cannot be a haphazard decision. You can’t simply rename your company as you wish, and there is a specific procedure to follow to legalize the change. So, you should think twice before initiating the process. The main reasons for doing that could be as follows:
- There was some sort of error, mistake, or mistyping made in your filed LLC name and you need to correct it;
- The current LLC moniker contains a personal name of the owner who is not an LLC member anymore;
- The name you use is often confused with other business, which might restrict your own business growth and brand potential;
- Your LLC name doesn’t fully reflect the business activities your company is engaged in. It might be due to switching to some other type of business or broadly expanding your business operations;
- A court order can also serve as a reason for a name change if your registered LLC moniker appears to resemble another company name conducting business in the same industry;
- Many companies resort to rebranding at some point to maintain business growth or just give it a boost to make it move in the right direction. If that’s the case for you too, a name change can be a part of a rebranding strategy.
One of the most common reasons, though, is a mere desire to run a business under a different name. However, in this case, you don’t necessarily have to change your registered LLC name. It will be enough to file for a DBA name. It’s an abbreviated “doing business as” that allows you to conduct a business under any name you like without actually changing a legal company name filed in the Articles of Association. The DBA filing process is fairly easy and will let you run different types of business under the umbrella of a single LLC. Besides, you can apply for as many DBAs for a single LLC as you need
If you do decide to change a legal company name, refer to the name change rules in your LLC Operating Agreement to hold the voting among company members for that change. In case you don’t have an Operating Agreement, you need to check state law requirements for an LLC name change. Notably, a unanimous name change approval from all valid LLC members is also enough to initiate such change.
Steps to Take to Change an LLC Name
Changing a registered company name is not so difficult, it’s rather time-consuming since the whole process will involve a load of paperwork to complete and amend. If you have an intention to delve into this process, look into the basic steps waiting for you ahead:
- Perform a name search. Similar to the LLC naming process, the first thing to do is to check the availability of the desired new name using a Name Search tool usually accessible online via the Secretary of State’s website. The requirements are similar to those for LLC formation. The chosen name should be permissible and not similar to any other LLC names already registered in the state;
- Get a resolution from the LLC owners demonstrating their consent for the name change. It’s important to have a written document evidencing the agreement of LLC members to avoid any misunderstanding and potential conflicts afterward, should anyone want to dispute your decision;
- To legalize the targeted LLC name change, you need to file amendments to the Articles of Organization. To do that, complete the amendment form you’ll find on the web platform of your state agency and submit it to the Secretary of State along with the confirmation of the name change fee payment. Since the name change is a legal action that needs state approval, the service is payable. The fee is variable by state, yet it falls somewhere between $20 and $150;
- Change records provided to the government bodies. This refers to the IRS service regulating taxes and other state agencies and authorities that have issued licenses, permits, and any state-registered documents for your LLC. When it comes to the Employer Identification Number (EIN), most often than not, it’s not affected by the LLC name change. Yet, you’d better check that with the IRS anyway;
- Introduce amendments to all your internal documents. The prime document to amend is an Operating Agreement. Given its importance for day-to-day business control, regulation, management, and operation, it’s crucial to keep it valid and up-to-date. Besides, you’ll have to make changes in all customer, vendor, landlord, and supplier contracts and agreements signed for your LLC;
- Update your bank and financial records. Once your LLC name is changed, to continue using your bank accounts and credit cards, you’ll have to update your company records with banks and financial authorities. The same is true for credit and loan agreements, checkbooks, insurance policies;
- Notify the changes to the public. When all formalities are met, it’s high time to insert a new LLC name in your marketing assets and make changes in advertising materials, infomercials, social media accounts, and website details;
Inform everyone you deem necessary. Send notifications about your LLC name change to any third parties who should know about that.