Can I Change the Name of My LLC?
If you’re wondering if you can change the name of your LLC, the answer is “Yes!” Changing the name of your LLC requires a variety of forms and fees, but it’s sometimes necessary. Maybe your LLC name is incorrect or too similar to another business’s name. Maybe the company’s name includes the name of a former owner. Or maybe your LLC is changing industries or rebranding itself. Whatever the reason, it’s possible to change your LLC’s name by following a few key steps.
How to Change your LLC Name
At minimum, changing your LLC name will require amending your formation document (typically called “articles of organization”). However, you’ll first need a valid new name and a member resolution. You’ll also likely need to update your information in a wide variety of places. Below, we take you through the process, step-by-step.
Before you can begin the process of changing your name, you’ll need to make sure the new name you choose meets state requirements. Most states require you to include an identifier like “L.L.C.” or “LLC” and prohibit names that suggest you’re a corporation or financial institution. Exact requirements vary but can be found in state LLC statutes.
Your new name must also be available in your state. You can check name availability with a business name search, which is typically free on your state’s Secretary of State website.
You’ll need formal approval from each member of your LLC to change the name. If you have an LLC operating agreement, it will likely include procedures for a member resolution. States like California and Missouri require LLCs to keep an operating agreement that dictate things like what notice (if any) needs to be given to members before formal meetings, who can vote, if/how a member can vote by proxy, and any other details the company believes should be included.
If your LLC does not have an operating agreement, you may be able to pass member resolutions less formally, but check with your state’s requirements for member meetings and amendments to company filings. However you end up creating the resolution, be sure to put it in writing and file it away in your LLC’s records.
After the member(s) have approved the LLC’s name change, you’ll need to amend or restate your company’s business filings to match. The specific document that needs to be amended is the articles of organization (aka certificate of organization or certificate of formation). Every state allows you to change your LLC’s name by filing an amendment. Amendment forms can usually be found on your state’s Secretary of State website. Filing fees vary but are typically around $50-$100.
In many states, you also have the option to file a restatement of articles instead of an amendment. A restatement is basically a copy of your old articles but updated to include all changes. Having a single, updated document can be convenient, especially as a restatement often costs the same as an amendment. But making updates via a restatement is not possible everywhere. For example, North and South Dakota don’t allow you to restate in lieu of an amendment. Other states allow you to restate and amend at the same time, but charge more (Illinois charges an extra $100). And states like Florida and Wyoming allow you to restate your articles—but you have to create your own form. In these cases, it’s often easier to simply file an amendment.
Unlike amending your articles of organization, amendments to your company’s internal operating agreement do not need to be filed with the state. Each member of your LLC must approve of the amendment(s) by signing them and you’ll keep those files as an internal document.
You also need to change your name with the IRS and any state or local tax agencies. Changing your name with the IRS does not require you to get a new employer identification number (EIN), but you are required to file for an EIN name change.
The way to change your business’ name on your EIN depends on the type of LLC it is:
- LLC taxed as an S Corp: The IRS gives you the opportunity to change your name on your 1120S Tax Form by checking the “name change” box (Page 1, Line H, Box 2).
- LLC taxed as a C Corp: You can change your name on IRS Form 1120 when you file taxes by checking the “name change” box (Page 1, Line E, Box 3).
- Multi Member LLC: If you have more than one member, your LLC is taxed as a partnership by default. You can change your business name with the IRS by checking the “name change” box on your LLC’s IRS Form 1065 (Page 1, Line G, Box 3).
- Sole Member LLC: LLCs with a single member are taxed as disregarded entities by default—and can’t update the LLC name by filing a tax return. Instead, you’ll need to deliver a letter informing the IRS of the LLC name change, signed by the LLC member. You’ll also need to include a filed copy of your certificate of amendment. (You’ll receive this when you update your articles of organization with your state.) These documents should be sent to the address where you file your tax returns.
Depending on where you run your business, you may have local, county, and/or state business licenses that are necessary for you to legally conduct business. Odds are you’ve also registered with state or local tax agencies. Have a DBA? You’ll more than likely need to amend that filing with the LLC’s new name.
Each agency maintains their own guidelines for updating information, so you’ll need to reach out to determine the processes and any potential fees.
It’s hard to keep track of every time you used your LLC’s old name, but it’s important to update as much as you can. Here are some places where you’ll need to change your name:
- Business Accounts: The LLC’s name will need to change on the business’ bank account. You’ll also need to order new credit cards and checks.
- Contracts: If there are any active contracts containing the business’ old name, they’ll need to be amended.
- Forms: Both online forms and paper forms should be updated. This includes forms like purchase orders and invoices.
- Branding: Stationary, business cards, company logos, brochures, and so much more! Anything that’s customized with your company’s old name needs to be changed.
- Web Presence: Change your name online, too! You may need to change email addresses if your old name was included. And update your website(s), social media profiles, and other online accounts, such as Google My Business, Yelp, or the BBB.
Everyone else needs to know about your name change, too. It’s a good idea to send current clients and vendors an email explaining any changes you’re making to the website, your address, your email address, etc.
If your company is large enough, consider running an advertising campaign that follows a “New Name—Same Great Service” angle. For example, when Datsun officially changed it’s name to Nissan in 1981, they spent about $500 million dollars on their rebranding campaign. Their slogan changed from “Datsun, We are Driven!” to “The Name is Nissan.”
How much does it cost to change my LLC’s name?
This depends on where your business is located. States require an amendment to your articles of organization in order to change the name on your LLC’s filing. This requires a filing fee that can range anywhere between $15 (Nebraska) and $220 (Washington DC). You should also consider how much it will cost to advertise your new name, replace your old stationary, redesign logos and websites, and any other work needed to change the LLC’s name.
How long does it take to change my LLC’s name?
You can start using your new company name as soon as it is approved by your state’s business filing agency and the IRS. Approval from the state can be quick, depending on how fast they offer processing, but the IRS takes about 6 weeks to process a name change.
How can I change my LLC’s name on its EIN?
When you change your name with the IRS, your LLC name will automatically change on your EIN.