How Can You Change an LLC Name?

ByDanica Jovic
September 07,2021

Your business name plays a monumental role in how your company is perceived. It’s the first thing your clients interact with, and getting it right is essential for branding success. As such, there are a number of good reasons that can prompt you to change your LLC name. 

Sometimes a business name just needs to be modified to become more unique. Other times, the departure of a business partner or changes in the branding strategy may require adjustments. Every business evolves, and if you start experiencing an identity crisis, it’s only logical to consider a business name change.

How to change the name of your LLC?

Changing a business name can be frustrating, especially if you aren’t familiar with the procedure. For starters, bear in mind that if you have partners, you’ll need their written consent to make any name changes. 

Each state has its own rules and regulations when it comes to LLC names. The process of changing your business name can be a little more complicated if your business operates in more than one state. Naturally, changing an LLC name will cost more if you do business in multiple states. 

We created a step-by-step guide that thoroughly explains everything you need to know to complete your business name change. Of course, if this is something that you aren’t ready to do on your own yet, there is no shortage of legal services that can help you change your business name.

Check available LLC names

If you’re trying to figure out how to change your LLC name, the first step involves checking whether your new name is available in the state where your business operates. Business filing agencies allow you to conduct a search on their websites for free, but you can get the same information from the secretary of the state’s website. 

It’s important to complete this step correctly and select a name that the state will approve. You cannot choose names that are similar to other LLCs. It’s also important to remember that your requested name can still be claimed by third parties until it’s officially approved and filed with the state.

Approve a resolution to change the name of your LLC

The next step is to get a written resolution that shows that all owners and members of your LLC agree with the name change. Each business should have an LLC operating agreement, a document that outlines how important decisions are made in the company. In some companies that process only involves two people, while others require all members to vote. Either way, having a proper operating agreement can speed up the entire process. This is also one of the main downsides of an LLC, as it requires strict rules on who makes decisions.

In case you don’t have an operating agreement, you can draw up an informal one with other LLC members. Just make sure that you meet the LLC name requirements that vary from one state to another.

Amend the name in your articles of organization

After you get written approval to change your business name, you’ll need to amend your articles of organization. This is the longest step of the entire process, and you usually need to wait up to 30 days for the state to make the changes. It’s also referred to as articles of amendment or certificate of change.

Each state has its own forms on how to change the name of an LLC.  You can easily download the forms on your computer and file them. The filing fees depend on your state of incorporation.

Change your business name in your operating agreement

The state will inform you about your approved name change by mail. Your registered agent can receive this document on your behalf and inform you when the mail arrives. You’ll then need to make updates to your operating agreement to reflect the name change.

IRS LLC name change

One of the most important things you need to do after you change your business name is inform the IRS about it. It’s a standard procedure requiring you to file a proper form. There are several options for paying taxes depending on whether you’re a single member, co-owner, or pay taxes as a corporation. You can read our guide on how to pay taxes with an LLC and find out everything you need to know.

Inform Licensing agencies

If you operate a business that requires state or federal licenses, you’ll need to inform the relevant agencies about the name change. Some of these agencies may require you to produce a certified document from the state authorizing the name change.  

Change the name of an LLC on your business accounts

Once the name change is finalized, you’ll need to update all your accounts, contracts, invoices, and leases. You’ll also need to contact your bank and order new credit cards and checks if your company uses them. 

The business name must be updated on all your official documents. For instance, you need to change it on all the contracts with your clients and suppliers.

Update the name on all other documents

The formal part of the LLC name change is completed once you inform your bank and vendors, but then you need to change the name everywhere else. First off, make sure that your website is updated with the latest information. Perhaps you’ll need to change your email address if it contains the old name. You’ll also need to print new business cards, brochures, and any other promotional material you show to your clients. 

If changing the entity’s legal name seems too complicated or isn’t necessarily the right fit for your business, you can always choose the easier option of filing for a DBA or “doing business as.” This allows you to run your business under any name you want while keeping your legal name unchanged. A DBA is also known as a fictitious name. In some states, business owners are required to have a fictitious name so the state can protect consumers from illegal businesses. Aside from that, a DBA is commonly used for marketing purposes, allowing LLC owners to use another name for promoting their business.

How much does it cost to change the LLC name?

The costs of changing your business name vary from state to state. Most charge a filing fee to process your application, which typically ranges between $20 and $150. The costs can be higher for those who have LLCs that operate in several states.

Bottom line

It’s perfectly legal to change the name of your business, and if you follow our short guide, the entire process is straightforward and entirely manageable. But sometimes, changing the name of an LLC is not the best option for business owners. If you aren’t absolutely sure that a name change is necessary, you can file for a DBA instead. This will allow you to operate under a fictitious name while keeping your original LLC name. The DBA filing process generally involves nothing more than a small fee and a simple form.

Frequently Asked Questions
Can you change the name of an existing LLC?

Yes, you can change the name of your LLC. The process is easy and straightforward. You’ll need to make sure that the new name is available and update articles of the organization and the operating agreement if you have one. You also need to inform the IRS, your bank, and licensing agencies about the name change. If you don’t know how to change the LLC name with the IRS, the first thing you need to do is identify how your business pays taxes.

Can you name your LLC your name?

You can give your limited liability company the same name as yours. You can use your first name, last name, or a combination of both. There’s also the option to file a DBA and operate your business under a fictitious name. 

Does my LLC name have to match my business name?

No, your business entity name doesn’t need to be the same as your business name. Your LLC entity name is your legal name, but you can register a DBA, which is also known as a trade name. 

Do I have to notify the IRS of a name change?

If you decide to change the LLC name, you need to inform the IRS and other government agencies about the updates.

About the author

Danica’s greatest passion is writing. From small businesses, tech, and digital marketing, to academic folklore analysis, movie reviews, and anthropology — she’s done it all. A literature major with a passion for business, software, and fun new gadgets, she has turned her writing craft into a profitable blogging business. When she’s not writing for SmallBizGenius, Danica enjoys hiking, trying to perfect her burger-making skills, and dreaming about vacations in Greece.

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