How to Change an LLC Name

The name of an LLC is a fundamental aspect of its identity, often encapsulating the company’s purpose, values, and brand.

However, there are instances when an LLC might contemplate changing its business name. These scenarios can range from rebranding efforts to significant changes in the company’s business model.

As experienced financial advisors, we dealt with this issue several times on behalf of our customers, so we know that you need all the helpful information you can get if you decide to change your LLC name.

That’s why we decided to guide you through the process. Let’s get started!

Brief Overview

  • Changing an LLC’s name starts with confirming name availability in your state’s business filings database followed by a series of steps to legalize the new business name name.
  • Reasons to change an LLC’s name include rebranding, legal issues, expanding operations, and simplifying for consumer appeal.
  • Online services like IncFile can streamline the process.

Step-by-Step Process to Change Your LLC Name

Changing an LLC’s name involves obtaining member approval, submitting an amendment to the state, and notifying relevant agencies. It’s an increasingly straightforward process when handled correctly.

1. Prepare for the Name Change

Once you choose an LLC name, there are several steps you’ll need to take before the name change is official.

Check and Confirm the New LLC Name

Before you can officially change the current LLC name, you must confirm its availability. This process involves searching the database of your state’s Business Filings Bureau to ensure no other company is operating under the desired name.

For example, if you are doing a Pennsylvania LLC name change you will need to perform a name search on the database of the the Pennsylvania Bureau.

Review Requirements to Change an LLC Name

Each state has specific legal and regulatory requirements for changing a company name. Usually, this involves filing a Certificate of Amendment form with the state agency and paying a required fee.

2. Update LLC Documents and Notifications

After you’ve filed the name change, make sure you update all documents associated with your LLC.

Get Member Approval for Name Change

Unless we are talking about a sole proprietorship, partner approval is a necessary step in the business name change process. Organize a meeting and document each member’s consent via an official form, resolution, or meeting minutes.

File Articles of Amendment

The next step is to file the Articles of Amendment online or by mail with the state. This official document includes the old name, as stated in the Articles of Organization, and the new business name, along with the signatures of the owners or an authorized person. To file it, you will need to pay the required filing fee.

Amend Your LLC Operating Agreement

Your LLC’s Operating Agreement will also need to be updated to reflect the new name. This document outlines the internal workings of your company, and any major changes such as a name replacement should be included.

Notify Taxing & Licensing Agencies

It’s also crucial to file the appropriate form or send a name change letter to let taxing and licensing agencies know about your name replacement to be able to continue using your business licenses and do your tax filings.

This includes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the state’s PA Bureau of Business Licenses, and any state or local agencies where your LLC is registered.

Update Everything Else

Finally, you’ll need to update all other aspects of your business structure that feature your LLC name. These range from your business bank account and business cards to your official website and marketing materials.

Reasons to Change Your LLC’s Name

study published in the Marketing science journal (2019) found that every year around 100 large US corporations change business name due to legal issues, rebranding, mergers, or customer dissatisfaction with the brand name.

From our experience, these are also the 4 reasons why a business owner may decide to change their LLC’s name.

Rebranding

The first may be the decision to do a business rebranding. For example, you may want your domestic limited liability company to appeal to a broader or different market. Rebranding could also be necessary if the current name no longer represents the business offerings.

Legal Reasons

Perhaps you’ve discovered a company operating under the same name or learned that your name infringes on a trademark. Changing your name can help avoid potential lawsuits and protect your company’s reputation.

Expansion or Change of Business Operations

As your business grows, you might expand into new areas that your current name doesn’t cover. This may require you to change the name to accurately represent your evolved business operations.

Simplification

A simpler, catchier name might be more attractive to customers. According to statistics provided by Market Splash, 77% of consumers purchase items based on their brand name rather than the name of the object itself, so it’s important to choose one that is easy to remember.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a lawyer to change the LLC’s legal name?

No, you do not necessarily need a lawyer to change the business name for your company. You can usually handle this process yourself or pay a business formation company to file a certificate for you.

What’s the difference between a business name change and registering a DBA name?

Registering a DBA name, or “doing business as”, allows your company to operate under a fictitious business name or trade name without changing its legal business name.

A name change involves legally modifying the official name of your business in IRS records, which may require a new Employer Identification Number.

Will I lose my trademark if I change my business name?

Changing your business name doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose your trademark. However, if your trademark is tied to your name, you may need to file a new one. It would be helpful to consult with a corporate officer or legal professional to understand the specifics of your case.

What’s the Easiest Way to Change Your LLC’s Name?

Changing an LLC’s name can be a time-consuming task, especially for busy entrepreneurs.

Luckily, online services like IncFile can make the process significantly easier.

IncFile offers a comprehensive company name change service that takes care of everything, from checking name availability to online filing the Certificate of Amendment with your state.

Their knowledgeable team can save you time and potential headaches, allowing you to focus on what matters most – running your business.

Remember, changing your LLC’s name is a significant decision. So, consider all the implications, plan thoroughly, and if needed, seek professional help.

Thomas Wilson

Thomas Wilson

An accomplished business guru, our CEO holds a degree from Philadelphia's esteemed Fox School of Business, accredited by AACSB. With a knack for practicality, they've orchestrated the launch of diverse small enterprises and guided fellow entrepreneurs in optimizing their ventures. Trust their seasoned insights for invaluable advice tailored to new businesses and LLCs.