At some point, what appeared ideal when you founded your LLC may no longer feel so. Perhaps it contains the name of a former business partner. It’s possible that it doesn’t match your current marketing or branding strategy. Or perhaps you’d rather do something different. And you wonder if it is even possible to change the name of your LLC.
Well, the answer is yes. You can easily change the name of your LLC for any reason by completing documentation with the state department that oversees business filings. In the course of this article, we explain the overall possibility of this idea and expose you to every piece of information in that regard.
Is it Possible to Change the Name of Your LLC?
The formation paperwork, also known as the Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation, must be filed in order to form an LLC. The state agencies in charge of LLC formation also control name changes. To change the name of your LLC, you must file a Certificate of Amendment along with any applicable fees.
On the other hand, due to a misspelling or mistake made by the entity that handled your formation files, you may only need a name correction rather than a full name change. You must file a Certificate of Correction in this case.
However, remember to update your name on all state and federal documents, such as business licenses, certificates of occupancy, and tax returns.
Meanwhile, only a legal name change requires an amendment request. You can apply for a fictitious business name, often known as a DBA (“doing business as”), if you just want a new trade name. Because no modifications to other records are required, the application for a DBA is simpler and less expensive than the one for a legal name change.
How to Change the Name of Your LLC
Changing your LLC’s name on all of your business accounts, contracts, and marketing materials is the most difficult and time-consuming element of an LLC name change.
To change the name of an LLC, follow these steps:
#1. Find Out if the Name You Want Is Available
It’s a good idea to double-check that the name you choose is available in your state before going ahead with the change. In most states, you can look up an LLC name on the secretary of state’s or other business filing agency’s website.
You must choose a name that is distinct from any other corporation or limited liability company in your state.
#2. Approve a Resolution to Change the Name of the Company
The owners or members of your LLC should formally approve the name change. Examine your LLC’s operating agreement to see how it makes crucial decisions. You could be compelled to hold a formal meeting of the members, or you might be able to work out an informal agreement. Make a resolution approving the name change and file it with your LLC’s formal documents.
#3. Change the Name of Your LLC by Amending Your Articles of Incorporation
You filed articles of organization with the state when you founded your LLC. To change the name of an LLC, you must change the articles. Each state has its own form for amending the Constitution. To find out the form you need to use in your state, contact your state’s company filing agency or search “change name of LLC” on their website.
You must submit the relevant form, along with any needed filing fee, to the state once you have completed it.
#4. Change Your Operating Contract
You should also change the name of your LLC in your internal operating agreement.
#5. File Articles of Amendment With the State
You’ll need to file a document with the state alerting them of your name change once you’ve received the proper internal approvals. This should be done within 30 days of the name change being approved by your LLC members.
You can obtain the form you need to file on the website of your secretary of state (or the website of the state filing agency where you formed your LLC). It’s a certificate of amendment to your articles of organization in most states. Some states have a streamlined certificate of amendment form.
Once you’ve decided on the form to use, fill it out according to the instructions. Only your new and old names, as well as some other basic details regarding your LLC, are normally necessary. Some states enable you to file the form online, while others need a hard copy to be mailed in. Ensure that you have paid the requisite filing fee.
#6. Notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) And Other Taxing Authorities
You must tell the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of your new name once it has been approved by the state. The method you use will be determined by how your LLC is taxed. You won’t need to apply for a new Employer Identification Number if you’re merely changing your name (EIN).
If you are a single-member LLC that is taxed as a sole proprietorship, you can notify the IRS of your name change by writing to the IRS at the address where you submit your return.
If you are a multi-member LLC that is taxed as a partnership, you can check the relevant box on your current year’s Form 1065 filing or write the IRS at the address where you file your partnership return if you have already filed your Form 1065 for the year.
LLCs that are taxed as corporations can check the appropriate box on their Form 1120 filing for the current year (Form 1120-S for S corporations). You must write to the IRS at the address where you submitted your Form 1120 or 1120-S for the year if you have already filed your return. For more information, go to the IRS website.
#7. Change the Name on Your Company’s Bank Accounts
You’ll need to change the name of your LLC on your business bank account, as well as buy new checks and credit cards.
You should also notify your usual business contacts, such as vendors, suppliers, landlords, lenders, and insurance agents.
Contracts may need to be changed in some circumstances to reflect your new business name.
If you use invoices, estimate forms, purchase orders, or any other type of form contract, make sure to update them with your new company name.
Everything Else Should Be Renamed
You can start telling the world about your new name once the state has approved your name change. Basically, signage, brochures, forms, your website, business cards, and stationery—anything that still retains your former name—might need to be updated. Customers may need to be informed about the name change so they know they’re still dealing with the same organization.
Filling out and filing the paperwork is all it takes to legally change the name of your LLC. But, before you change your company’s name, be sure it’s a good commercial decision. Remember that you’ll be changing bank accounts, business licenses and forms, websites, and marketing materials, all of which will take time and money.
Things to Consider Before Changing Your LLC Name
If changing the name of your LLC isn’t crucial, apply for a DBA. You can conduct your business under any name you like with a DBA, as long as your legal business name remains the same. You’d also only have to fill a simple form and pay a little charge.
If you need to change your company’s legal name, check your LLC’s operating agreement for voting criteria for a name change. If you don’t have an operating agreement, look up the minimum requirements for such a change in your state’s LLC laws, or simply get all of the members’ approval. Form a formal resolution with the signatures of the members. Within 30 days of receiving the written resolution, make amendments to your LLC’s Articles of Organization.
When Would I Want to Change My Company’s Name?
There are various reasons why you might want to change the name of your organization. You might wish to appeal to a new demographic, reflect an expansion of your offerings or location, or maybe you just bought a new company.
On the other hand, a brand renewal or a desire to attract a new generation of customers are two other prominent reasons for a name change. A name change might also be prompted by negative press. Or maybe you just picked the wrong name for your company when you started it, and it’s time to change it.
Why Is It Worth It To Change Your LLC’s Name Properly?
Your new LLC name will not be registered until you provide the necessary proof, and it will be available for grabs by someone else if they think of it first. Furthermore, having all of your ducks in a row is always beneficial if you run into any legal concerns in the future.
You don’t want to take the chance of another company registering your company’s name, as well as the accompanying URLs and social media handles.
Changing your LLC name legally is worthwhile for whatever reason. It doesn’t have to be a long procedure, depending on where it’s registered.
Should You Consider a Fictitious Name Instead?
If all of this sounds like too much work, see if registering for a fictitious name (also known as a DBA or doing business as) is a better option. Filing a fictitious name allows you to conduct business under a different name without having to change your legal business name. It’s a reasonably simple and inexpensive procedure that you complete through the local municipal, county, or state department that handles fictitious name filings in the area where you do business.
If you receive a fictitious name, check with your bank to see if you need to open a new bank account or if the DBA name can be added to an existing account.
Your marketing and branding resources, such as your website, social media, and signage, will also need to be updated. The legal name of your business entity remains the same for the IRS, permitting authorities, vendors, and others.
Reasons to Convert from a Limited Liability Company to a Corporation
For a variety of reasons, business owners may contemplate converting from an LLC to a corporation. The following are a few of the most common:
#1. You’re Looking for Investors to Help You Raise Funds
Corporations are often preferred by investors. Why? Because corporations have defined and transferable ownership shares, which makes them easier to buy and sell stakes in them. Corporations can also issue “preferred stock,” which is a separate form of stock that investors often find appealing.
#2. You’ve Decided to Make a Public Offering
You must first incorporate a company if you intend to execute a public offering of common stock in the future.
#3. You Want to Issue Stock as Compensation
It’s considerably easier to offer stock to original investors or organizers as compensation, or to give it to staff on a regular basis as part of their normal salary, as a corporation rather than an LLC.
#4. You Want to Be a Part of a Startup Accelerator Program
Startup accelerators and incubators often require companies to be incorporated since they take equity.
#5. You’d Like to Reduce Your Self-Employment Tax Burden
Members of a limited liability corporation (LLC) must pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on their portion of the firm’s profits. In a corporation, owners are paid in the same way as other employees, and they just have to pay taxes on the amount of their remuneration. Most importantly, a limited liability company (LLC) can elect to be taxed as a corporation without actually changing.
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