How to Change the Name of Your Business

Most often, companies change names to signify movement into a different area of business or a change in management. Less frequently, a name change is desired to help rebrand a company after legal or financial trouble. Changing your company's name involves notifying multiple government agencies and can be a large undertaking. However, you can change the name of your business with few issues if you are well prepared.

Go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office website and click the "Trademark Search" link. Enter the new company name you want to use to ensure it hasn't already been trademarked. You could face a lawsuit if you use someone's trademarked material.

Contact the agency that registers businesses in your state to request a name change form. This is the secretary of state in most states, but in some areas the state taxation agency handles business registrations. Although the specific information you must provide on the form varies by state, in most cases you must include the company's old name, the new name, the business's Employer Identification Number and the date you want the name change to become effective. Pay any applicable registration fees when you submit the form.

Request the forms you need to change your company's name on any applicable permits and licenses from your state's business registration agency. Depending on your state, this may involve completing new permit and license applications or simply filling out a shortened form with your new information.

Write a letter to the Internal Revenue Service stating the name change if you are a sole proprietor. Include the company's old name, the new name, EIN, phone number and address. If you incorporated your business, indicate the name change by checking the appropriate box on Form 1120 and entering the new name. Partnerships must check the "Name Change" box on Form 1065.