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Running a business

How to change your business name in 6 steps

Sometimes, a business name doesn’t work out. Maybe you had a clever play on words that you thought would represent your brand well, but customers didn’t make the connection. Or perhaps your company name has your name in it, but you want to build the brand beyond yourself.

Whatever your reason, changing a business name can be challenging, as you don’t want to lose any brand recognition you do have. You also want to update your name with all the right agencies and in the correct places. But updating your business name doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here’s how to change your business name in six steps:

  1. Find your new name
  2. Update the Secretary of State
  3. Change licenses and permits
  4. Notify the IRS
  5. Update business documents
  6. Let your customers know

1. Find your new name

The first step is to choose a business name that suits your needs. After you have your name, go to your Secretary of State’s website and ensure the name isn’t already in use by another company in your state. If it’s already in use, you will need to opt for another name. 

You may also want to consider other factors, like domain name availability. If you plan to trademark your name or think you might in the future, you can check with the US Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search tool to see if your new name is available.

2. Update the Secretary of State

Officially changing a business name also requires you to let your Secretary of State know. Your state’s office, which should be the same agency you used to register your business, will have a form for changing your name. 

Note that states have different names for these forms. Go to to find a link to your state’s office. There will likely be a fee for the name change.

If you’re a sole proprietor, you can change your business name with a doing business as (DBA).

3. Change licenses and permits

Changing a business name with the Secretary of State is just the first of a few places you’ll need to contact about your new name. You’ll want to gather a list of all the business permits and licenses you have and contact each issuing agency to update them about your name change. 

For example, you may have to contact your local fire department to update your fire permit, as well as a federal agency if you’re in a federally regulated industry. Note that you may have to pay a fee to change your name with certain agencies.

4. Notify the IRS

An IRS name change has different requirements depending on your business structure. In some cases, it’s as easy as noting the name change on your next tax return. For example: 

  • Sole proprietors and most single-member LLCs will need to write a letter to the IRS to inform them of the name change. 
  • Corporations can update the IRS by selecting the name change box on Form 1120 if they are filing a current-year return or by sending a letter to the IRS if they’ve already filed. 
  • Partnerships and multimember LLCs, or any entity filing Form 1065, can select the name change box if they’re filing a current-year return; if not, they will need to write a letter to the IRS. 

Note you do not need a new employer identification number (EIN) if you’re changing your business name. Updating the IRS of your new name will change the business name on your EIN.

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5. Update business documents

Now, you’re ready to tackle your business documents, such as records, manuals, and contracts. Change your business name and logo on documents like invoices and reach out to suppliers and vendors to update necessary agreements. 

You’ll update your business bank account as well and ensure you update your payroll provider. If you have a domain and decide to get a new one, you’ll want to redirect your site there.

6. Let your customers know

After changing your business name with relevant agencies, it’s time to update your clients and customers. Let customers know that you’re still open for business as soon as possible. 

Briefly explain or celebrate your business name change. This will help you retain their confidence and start building your new brand to attract more customers

Craft a strategic communication plan and utilize various channels, such as social media, email, and your website. For example, you can tease your new name with a series of rebranding posts on social media and a planned reveal date.

Run your business with confidence

Changing your business name is a big decision. But successfully changing your business name involves a well-executed plan. Use the opportunity to redefine your brand identity and align it with your business goals. 

From starting a business to changing a business name, one crucial aspect is maintaining seamless financial management. Accounting and payroll software, like QuickBooks Payroll, can make name updates seamless for functions like invoicing and payroll.

How to change your business name FAQ

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QuickBooks Online Payroll & Contractor Payments: Money movement services are provided by Intuit Payments Inc., licensed as a Money Transmitter by the New York State Department of Financial Services, subject to eligibility criteria, credit and application approval. For more information about Intuit Payments Inc.’s money transmission licenses, please visit

QuickBooks Money: QuickBooks Money is a standalone Intuit offering that includes QuickBooks Payments and QuickBooks Checking. Intuit accounts are subject to eligibility criteria, credit, and application approval. Banking services provided by and the QuickBooks Visa® Debit Card is issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A., Inc. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association. QuickBooks Checking Deposit Account Agreement applies. Banking services and debit card opening are subject to identity verification and approval by Green Dot Bank. Money movement services are provided by Intuit Payments Inc., licensed as a Money Transmitter by the New York State Department of Financial Services. For more information about Intuit Payments' money transmission licenses, please visit No subscription cost or monthly fees. Other fees and limits, including transaction-based fees, apply.

Industry-leading Annual Percentage Yield (APY): Competitive rate information based on publicly available data for small business checking accounts provided by the largest national and online banks as of September 18, 2023. APYs are subject to change at any time.

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