Changing Your Business's Name with the IRS: An Overview

If conducting an IRS business name change, you should make sure that everyone knows about it, including customers, wholesalers, and the IRS.

Most of the time, changing the name of your business with the IRS doesn't mean you need a new EIN or Employer Identification Number. However, you'll need to change the name associated with the EIN.

You should get a new EIN if your LLC's name change is because of a change in business organization. For example, you could convert your company from a corporation to an LLC. For a new Employer Identification Number, apply online through the IRS's EIN Assistant. If you just got an EIN for your business or changed it recently and you haven't filed any taxes with the IRS, you should send your request to IRS-Stop 343G, Cincinnati, OH 45999.

When you're filing your tax return for the current year, you can change the name of your business with the IRS by checking the box and adding your company's new information on the correct form. If you're operating a partnership or you're filing a current year Return of Partnership Income form, it's Line 3 G, Form 1065. Provide the new name of your business, and get a company officer to sign the form. If you're not filing Form 1065, write a letter to the processing center that handled your tax return that's signed by one of the partners.

If your business is a corporation, use Form 1120 or Form 1120S. On Form 1120, the name change box is on page 1, Line E, box 3. The same box is on page 1, Line H, Box 2 for Form 1120S. You should write the new name of your company in Section A, and there's no need to include your business's previous name. For an LLC or a corporation, you should also file a Certificate of Amendment with the country or state where it was formed to change its name.

Step by Step Instructions

To change the name of your business with the IRS, follow these steps:

  1. Use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's trademark search tool to find out if the name you would like to use is already registered by someone else.
  2. If the name isn't being used, see if the domain name is available for your website. Even if you don't set up your site right away, you can reserve the domain name to keep competitors from using it. A .com address is best for a for-profit business, and .org is for nonprofit.
  3. Use the correct form to let your Secretary of State know about your company's name change. There's usually a fee for changing your business's official name.
  4. To change your business's name on any licenses or permits that you have, contact the offices that issued them. You'll usually need to pay a fee to change federal, state, city, or county permits or licenses.
  5. Notify the IRS,  and remember that the requirements vary for different types of businesses.
  6. Update all the documents for your business.
  7. Change your logo and change signs, your website, business cards, employee uniforms, and other forms of branding to match well with your company's new name.
  8. Ask your website administrator to redirect visitors to your previous website to your new URL.
  9. Use email, paper mail, TV, radio ads, and other forms of advertisements to let your customers and everyone else you do business with know that the name of your company has changed. That way, you won't have to start from the beginning to build your brand.

Changing Your Business Name for an EIN

The EIN or Employer Identification Number is a common way to identify businesses, and you should keep the information for it up to date, especially if you change your company's name. There's no way to update the name associated with your EIN electronically. There's also no official form, so you'll need to write a letter. Fortunately, changing the name of your business for your EIN is free and simple, even without a way to do it online.

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